Arts and Entertainment: Humane League Teams With Whole Foods To Stage Inaugural Philly Veg Fest

The Humane League partnered with Whole Foods yesterday to present Philadelphia’s first Veg Fest.

Situated at Headhouse Square in Society Hill, Veg Fest featured a variety of food vendors, clothing companies and activist organizations. The common thread was that they all supported the betterment of animals.

Humane League executive director David Coman-Hidy was pleased that the fest featured such a variety of food and organizations.

“That’s what today is about – showing people the truth about factory farms and also not just the why, but also the how, said Coman-Hidy. “It’s about showing people all of the great vegetarian options that we have right here in Philadelphia, all of the amazing restaurants and helping promote everything they have to offer for the citizens here.”

Humane League executive director David Coman-Hidy speaking on the cruelty of battery cage farming.
Humane League executive director David Coman-Hidy speaking on the cruelty of battery cage farming.

Event organizer and Humane League volunteer coordinator Lydia Chaudhry considers Philadelphia to be one of the most vegan and vegetarian friendly cities in the country. With that being said, she was surprised that it had yet to host a Veg Fest. With the inaugural event, Chaudhry hoped to drawn more than just vegans.

“One of our goals was to attract people who aren’t necessarily vegans or vegetarians either but perhaps open to the idea and open to trying new foods,” said Chaudhry.

Edibles offered at the fest ranged from the gourmet to the grease laden. Rich Landau, chef-owner of Philly standout Vedge, was on hand to demonstrate some of the fare that’s going to be available at his new restaurant, V Street. Other vendors chose to serve up meatless twists on Philly classics. Vegan Commissary, a South Philly plant-based eatery, served meat free chicken cheesesteaks. But perhaps the most interesting offering of the day – a vegan take on scrapple -was concocted by Long Cove Foods.

Vegan Commissary's take on a meatless chicken cheese steak.
Vegan Commissary’s take on a meatless chicken cheese steak.

“We’re trying to give people an option for classic favorites, which is the Hip City way, the plant based way,” said Hip City Veg manager Jamie Gaffney. “And it’s really great to see all of these other companies in one setting that are really shooting for the same goal.”

A large crowd decked out in a variety of pro-vegan tee shirts showed up early and en masse to take in the festival, as well as the local grub. But besides the quality of the food, Coman-Hidy appreciated the collective set of ethics on display.

“What’s really nice is that so many of the folks who run these restaurants are not just into making great food,” he said. “They’re also really mission driven about helping the environment and helping animals on factory farms. So they’re really pitching in to help make this event a success more than being just vendors.”

-Text and images by David Zisser and Jacqueline Nelms

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