We already have festivals centered around wine, chocolate, Asian food, Latin American cuisine and beer. So why not veggies? At the inaugural New York City Vegetarian Food Festival, sprouting up on April 3 at The Altman Building in Chelsea, it doesn’t matter if you are a locavore, pescatarian, carnivore or flexitrian—all are welcome and all can eat the food here.
“There are so many reason to have this festival,” says event co-founder Nira Paliwoda. “Number one is nutrition, and the second is social awareness both for animal rights and environmental issues that are tied into the vegetarian lifestyle.”
The festival features over 70 vegan-friendly vendors, including Rick’s Picks, junk food hotspot Foodswings, Wild Flour Baking Co., Kombucha Brooklyn and Palo tea. They'll be doling out food samples all day alongside nonprofits like PETA, Common Ground Center, Catskills Animal Sanctuary and Our Hen House.
In between the nibbles and knowledge, their two stages will feature belly dancers, yoga instruction by Jivamukti Yoga School, cooking demonstrations and live music.
“It’s not just for vegetarians, but more an educational festival so people interested in the lifestyle can see panels and food demos and talk to community food vendors,” adds Paliwoda, who started the festival with Sarah Gross.
The event runs from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., and is free (paid VIP tix are also available). The earlier part of the day focuses on children’s health, like a section on vegan parenting by Chloe Jo Davis (of GirlieGirl Army) and Alexandra Jamieson, author of "Vegan Cooking For Dummies." Other panels include a talk about food as activism by VegNew TV host Jasmin Singer, and a discussion about how to transition to veganism.
But it’s not just all talk, Paliwoda says she's looking forward to cooking demos from folks like Fran Costigan, author of "More Great Good Dairy Free Desserts Naturally," as well as and music by performance artist Maya Solovéy. “I think it’s hard [being vegan], if you don’t know where to go,” Paliwoda says. Now folks will.
NYC Vegetarian Food Festival: April 3, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., at The Altman Building (135 W. 18th St. between Sixth and Seventh Aves.)