nycvff postcard 2014 finalCardiologists, restaurant owners, vegan chefs, and world-class athletes will be among those taking the stage at the 4th annual New York City Vegetarian Food Festival, March 1-2, in Manhattan. There will also be more than 100 vendors of vegan lifestyle products and foods, many offering samples. Rounding out the attractions will be stand-up comedy, craft activities and storytelling for children, and a raffle benefiting the New York Coalition for Healthy School Food.

Festival organizers said the event is designed to appeal to a variety of consumers, not just vegans/vegetarians. “Don’t let the name mislead you. This Festival is for non-vegetarians and vegetarians alike,” said Festival co-founder Sarah Gross. “If you’re interested in good food, new products, health and wellness, or simply looking for something entertaining (and educational) for both you and your kids, this is a must-attend event!” The Festival is presented under the auspices of the U.S. Veg Corp. It was launched in 2011 as a one-day event. However, overflow crowds and an entrance line stretching 4 city blocks for most of the day convinced the organizers to double capacity. “The interest in this event has been incredible with people traveling from all over the world to attend. Every year we strive to make the event bigger and better to keep up with the demand and provide patrons and participants alike an enjoyable experience with lots of take-aways,” said the Festival’s other co-founder, Nira Paliwoda.

Last year, approximately 6,000 people attended throughout the weekend. If we follow the trend, the 2014 version may top those numbers. Dr. Robert Ostfeld, a Yale- and Harvard-trained cardiologist, will be one of this year’s speakers. His presentation will cover the benefits of a plant-based diet for heart health. Another cardiologist, Dr. Joel Kahn, will present “Ten Holistic Tips to Strengthen Your Heart.” The chef/owners of the acclaimed Vedge restaurant in Philadelphia will also be on hand. Richard Landau and Kate Jacoby plan to offer up delectable recipes and stories from the cutting edge of vegan cuisine. Award-winning runner, reporter, and author Ellen Jaffe Jones will give two talks, including “Managing a Vegan Diet on a Shoestring,” which aims to counter the popular misconception that vegan diets are only for upscale trendsetters.

Latham Thomas, the author of Mama Glow: A Hip Guide to Your Fabulous Abundant Pregnancy, will give a talk and sign copies of her popular books. Other presenters during the weekend will include chef Kevin Archer, animal rights lawyers Mariann Sullivan and Sherry F. Colb, dietitian Ashley Koff, popular bloggers Lauren Walls and Jasmin Singer, Steve “Sproutman” Meyerwitz, personal trainer Greg Sher, and Comedy Central’s favorite vegan comedian, Myq Kaplan, will deliver one of his hilarious routines. Notable chefs from The Natural Gourmet Institute will be conducting delicious cooking demonstrations, while the NYC Vegetarian and Vegan Families Meetup will be on hand at the Kumquat Kids Area where the schedule is packed all weekend with fun and educational activities for kids of all ages.

Among the exhibitors, Festival-goers can look up Nuttin’ Ordinary (raw vegan spreads), Plant Fusion (protein supplements), Just the Food (fusion tacos), Rescue Chocolate (bars and truffles, with profits benefiting animal welfare), and Alchemy Creamery (dairy-free ice cream), among many others.

 A complete listing of presenters and vendors can be found at

The NYC Vegetarian Food Festival will take place 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, March 1-2, at the Metropolitan Pavilion (125 West 18th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues). Tickets can be purchased in advance at or at the door.