VegFest brings its delicious foods to Riley Park Sept. 12

By: Maria Allard | Farmington Press | Published August 24, 2021

 VegMichigan will hold its annual VegFest 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 12 at Riley Park, at 33113 Grand River Ave. in downtown Farmington.

VegMichigan will hold its annual VegFest 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 12 at Riley Park, at 33113 Grand River Ave. in downtown Farmington.

Photo provided by Tom Progar

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FARMINGTON — Get your taste buds ready to enjoy some healthy and delicious foods: VegMichigan will hold its annual VegFest 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sept. 12 at Riley Park, at 33113 Grand River Ave., in downtown Farmington.

Several vendors will set up shop so visitors can sample and stock up on their favorite plant-based foods. The free outdoor event will include live music from Sinjon Smith. Also scheduled to make an appearance is fan favorite Clark the Juggler. There will be giveaway bags for the kids with coloring sheets, crayons, stickers and a treat.

VegMichigan is a nonprofit organization focused on promoting the health, environmental, and ethical benefits of a plant-based diet by offering a wide range of activities for learning and socializing.

Jack’s Quality Beans, Detroit Jerky, Better Health Market & Cafe, and Chive are the VegFest event sponsors. The event is open to everyone, not just vegans and vegetarians.

“Definitely the focus is having a fun day enjoying some food and great music and getting people to try plant-based foods,” VegMichigan President Tom Progar said. “There’s a huge variety of plant-based foods available. We’ll have a lot of events for kids.”

A plant-based diet consists mostly of plant-based foods. Plant-based foods are derived from plants with no animal-source foods or artificial ingredients. While a plant-based diet avoids or has limited animal products, it is not necessarily vegan.

VegFest is not designed to turn people into vegans or vegetarians, but to introduce them to more plant-based foods. In the past, the nonprofit organization has welcomed professional athletes who have talked about their transition into eating more plant-based meals.

“It’s growing in popularity,” Progar said. “A plant-based diet can give your body the nutrients it needs so you have a better lifestyle. The foods are full of nutrients, antioxidants and fiber.”

Progar, 52, became vegan several years ago and noticed a vast improvement in his health. In his late 30s, Progar suffered from knee pain. Since becoming vegan, those aches and pains went away, and he now plays tennis a few days a week and runs on a regular basis.

“I feel very healthy,” he said.

VegMichigan Media and Outreach Manager Olivia Gramprie encourages the public to check out VegFest.

“The atmosphere will be fun and friendly and welcoming to everyone, no matter if you are already vegan/plant-based or just veg-curious,” Gramprie said in an email. “We are hoping for a really nice day so we can all enjoy the beautiful Riley Park and being outside. There will be live music, a juggler, activity bags for kids, sustainable shopping, so much delicious plant-based food, and several vendors will even be passing out free samples.”

According to Gramprie, the festival is important because it allows the nonprofit organization to support local vegan and veg-friendly businesses.

“It also is a great way to bring the vegan and veg-curious community together. It is also a great way to show people who are not plant-based that there is such a wonderful variety of vegan food out there that is kinder, more sustainable and generally healthier than the non-plant-based-alternative,” Gramprie said. “We hope that people who are not already plant-based will attend as well and that they will discover how delicious eating this way can be. We hope they try and love some things that they never knew could be vegan and then add some of these foods into their regular diets.”

For more information, visit vegmichigan.org.

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