by Alison Riggs
Celebrate the 4th Annual VegFest O’ahu with Down to Earth on September 21st, 11:30-5:00pm at the Frank Fasi Grounds in Honolulu (next to Honolulu Hale). This event is the highlight of the year for vegans, vegetarians, vegetable lovers, and the plant-based diet curious. No matter what kind of food you like to eat, you should experience VegFest O’ahu—and bring your kids!
VegFest O’ahu is a celebration of island-style plant-based, sustainable living. The free festival brings together more than 50 booths offering education, vegan food, entertainment, and inspiration. Activities include: cooking demos by expert chefs; speakers on health and environmental topics; Hawaii’s largest plant-based food vendor market offering healthier versions of local favorites and comfort foods; yoga and dance classes; lots of free product sampling and giveaways; sustainable fashion; and continuous live music. Come meet friendly people and discover the many island resources that support plant-based living.
As if all this doesn’t already sound amazing enough—there is no entry free and no charge for parking. Parking space is limited, though. We highly encourage alternative transportation to get to VegFest this year; carpool, bike, walk, take the bus, support Biki, use an Uber or Lyft. VegFest is focused on sustainability and strives to be a zero-waste festival. In fact, VegFest O’ahu is complying with guidelines to be certified as a Green Event by the Hawaii State Energy Office. There are no single-use plastic water bottles sold at the event. Bring your refillable bottles to the refill station instead. Do your part to protect the environment by choosing alternative transportation to get to VegFest and strive to have a zero-waste day!
Down to Earth is thrilled to be a co-lead sponsor of VegFest again this year. The other lead sponsor is VEDGE Wholesale. VEDGE Wholesale is a distributor of plant-based specialty food brands to foodservice, retailers, and individuals. This local, family-owned business hopes to inspire others to “Go Vedge!” by making specialty plant-based foods accessible and affordable, and by supporting our local community.
Other sponsors of this year’s VegFest O’ahu are Adventist Health Castle, Kaiser Permanente, SKY Kombucha, Tania Fukuda New York Life, Vegetarian Society of Hawai‘i, Pono Home, Uncle's Ice Cream, and Sustain Hawai‘i (‘Ai Love Nalo).
“There are 161 vegfests happening around the world in 2019, and VegFest O‘ahu provides an innovative solution to bring Hawaii into this global trend so we can remain a cutting edge destination,” said Joy Waters, Producer of VegFest O‘ahu.
“Down to Earth Organic & Natural is once again proud to be a co-lead sponsor of VegFest O‘ahu in 2019,” said Mark Fergusson, CEO of Down to Earth Organic & Natural. “VegFest O‘ahu provides an important service by showing Hawaii residents and visitors that a plant-based diet is environmentally friendly, reduces global warming, and is truly compassionate.”
“VegFest O‘ahu will be the opportunity for our local community to taste the newest and most innovative plant-based items on the market,” said Ty Hitch from VEDGE Wholesale.
“VegFest O‘ahu grows our state’s economy by providing profitable market opportunities for island food entrepreneurs to increase brand awareness to thousands of residents and visitors, test new products, and network with other plant-based companies,” said Joy Waters. “Some of the participating vendors told us they launched their entire businesses at VegFest O‘ahu. Restaurant owners told us they tried out new dishes at the festival and used the feedback to determine which should become a regular part of their menu.”
Food: Menus include: mochiko chik’n bowl, kakiage tempura, “not pork” kim chee manapua, cauliflower shawarma wrap, jackfruit tacos, falafel waffle, watermelon and veg feta salad, stuffed croissants with ham and cheese, mushroom tamales, roasted vegetable focaccia, kalo brownies, ‘ulu cinnamon rolls, ice cream sandwiches, macnut soft serve, açaí bowl, local brew kombucha, guava cupcakes, fried donuts, and much more. COME HUNGRY!
Speakers: Dr. Sailesh Rao, PhD from Stanford, presents “How You Can Solve Climate Change Today”. Carmela Wolf, Wellness Manager at Down to Earth Organic & Natural, presents “Your Food, Your Medicine: Using Phytochemicals for Optimal Health”. Suzanne Frazer, from Beach Environmental Awareness Campaign Hawaiʻi (B.E.A.C.H.) presents “How to Get Plastic Out of Your Diet”, Panel, “Take Action: Strategies to Strengthen Hawai‘i’s Plant-Based Movement.”
Expert Chef Demos: Chef Edgar Edge and Gordon Au, from Adventist Health Castle, demos Sushi Burger and Vegan Pho. Chef Katie Dobkin from Beet Box Cafe and representing VEDGE Wholesale, demos BBQ SoyCurls. Chef Paul Onishi, representing Down to Earth Organic & Natural, demos Healthy Loco Moco. Kim Oshita, Dietician from Kaiser Permanente, demos Local-Style Cauliflower Rice. Chef Mama T. Gonsalves, from Umeke Market, demos Chickpea Taco Salad.
Music Bands: TAIMANE: Ukulele from classical to rock to flamenco. PAUL IZAK: Harmonica blues, folk guitar, and reggae beats. TAVANA: Island-inspired rock and blues. HOOK+ LINE: Acoustic rhythm and blues with fiddle and upright bass.