On Saturday, Oct. 6, lovers of animals, the environment, healthy living and social justice will gather at the Knoxville Expo Center to participate in Knoxville’s first all-vegan festival.
The Scruffy City Vegan Fest will host a variety of vendors including regional businesses offering vegan foods to purchase and sample; purveyors of vegan and cruelty-free cosmetics; and representatives from local farm sanctuaries, chiropractic practices, and vegan travel and book companies. There will be speakers presenting throughout the event, which lasts from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
In Knoxville, recent years have included the opening of two all-vegan restaurants, Sanctuary Vegan Café in West Knoxville and Cook To Be Well in Happy Holler. Knox Vegan, an online community dedicated to highlighting Knoxville’s many vegan dining options, regularly publishes on new vegan dishes served at predominantly non-vegan restaurants, signaling the town’s rising vegan culture.
Knoxville residents have demonstrated at local circus shows to advocate for ending the use of animals as entertainment and at nearby slaughterhouses to shed light on the treatment of animals used for food.
Between 2014 and 2017, the number of people identifying as vegans in the United States grew by 600 percent, and Google searches for veganism rose by a similar amount over the past 10 years. Nestle, the largest food company in the world, predicts that the rise of veganism is not a trend, but a movement that is here to stay. Historically meat-focused companies, such as Tyson, are investing in plant-based protein alternatives because of the increasing market value of these products.
Athletes such as Kyrie Irving credit their improved performance to a plant-based diet. Practically every trend forecaster and market analyst agrees that 2018 has been the year of mainstream veganism, and East Tennessee is no exception.
Scruffy City Vegan Fest is sponsored by Three Rivers Market and Born This Way Body Arts, and hosted by Knoxville Farmed Animal Save, a member of The Save Movement Worldwide Network, dedicated to raising awareness of animal cruelty by bearing witness to animal suffering.