Vegetarian food festival is Sunday

Arrive hungry at the Boston Vegetarian Food Festival on Saturday because scores of vendors will offer free samples.

"You can walk up and down the aisles and graze and experience new foods,'' said Evelyn Kimber, president of the Boston Vegetarian Society. "We want to show people the wide variety of of foods that taste good and are readily available for people who want to eliminate animal products in their diet.''

More than 120 vendors from around the country participate, a huge increase from the festival's early days 13 years ago when organizers had a hard time finding enough producers of animal-, egg- and dairy-free food.

"We had to knock ourselves out in the early days to fill the room and now we have a waiting list of exhibitors,'' Kimber said."

Concerns about their own health and the treatment of animals motivate most people to stop eating meat and dairy foods, Kimber said. More recently, people also have cited a desire to minimize impact on the environment, she said.

About 10,000 people are expected to attend the free one-day festival, which also includes lectures, cooking demonstrations, educational exhibits and a children's activity center.

Asian, Latin, Indian and Mediterranean foods will be offered, and vegan restaurants will have stands. Free samples include hemp nut butter, humus and bean dips, non-dairy ice cream and cheesecake, spelt flour flatbread, and faux turkey.

You can watch the preparation of dairy- and egg-free desserts in a demo by Hannah Kaminsky, author of "My Sweet Vegan,'' and learn to prepare energizing breakfasts and lunches from Jae Steele, author of "Get It Ripe: A Fresh Take on Vegan Cooking and Living.''

T. Colin Campbell, world-famous nutritional biochemist, will speak on the health benefits of a plant-based diet, and Danielle Nierenberg, senior fellow with the Worldwatch Institute, will speak about animal agriculture's impact on the environment and climate change.


What: 13th annual Boston Vegetarian Food Festival

When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday

Where: Reggie Lewis Athletic Center, 1350 Tremont St., Boston

How much: Admission and parking are free

More info: Call 617-424-8846 or go to