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Annual Louisville VegFest to elevate vegan dishes at festival Saturday

Photo courtesy of Alex Boreiko.
Alex Boreiko
The annual VegFest is an opportunity to educate and inspire Louisvillians about vegan food.

Some of the dishes slated for the Bluegrass VegFest include vegan cod, nachos and lemon lavender cookies – all entirely vegan options from more than 20 food vendors. 

Jenny Brown, the director of VegFest and a self-proclaimed “veghead” since age 18, said the number of vegan food vendors has doubled since last year.

“I'm trying to bring that here to my hometown and allow people to see just how incredible vegan food can be all the comfort foods,” Brown said. “Anything you can eat, I can eat vegan.”

Vendors will include local eateries like V-Grits, All Thai’d Up and Spinelli’s Pizza, but exhibitors from around the country will also be in attendance, like Oh My Cod, a Florida-based vegan seafood joint.

The event will also feature local packaged food and juices like Louisville Vegan Jerky and Elixir Kombucha.

“I wanted to make sure we had enough this year because last year it was so clear there is this demand,” Brown said.

Guest speakers include vegan Olympic medalist Dotsie Bausch and founder of New Roots Fresh Market Karyn Moskowitz. V-Grits owner Kristina Addington will conduct a cooking demonstration.

Brown said presentations will range from health to animal rights.

“The reality of animal agriculture is largely invisible in our society. And for me, I want people to leave animals off the menu and to expand their circle of compassion to include them as well,” she said.

The festival will take place at the Mellwood Art Center, which used to operate as the Fischer meatpacking plant. Brown said VegFest will have an educational exhibit explaining the history of the building.

“In this very same location for almost 100 years, thousands of pigs were shipped in, came in every day on trains and trucks,” Brown said. “That's where they were slaughtered and turned into cold cuts.”

The festival is free and will take place Saturday July 15 from noon until 6 p.m.