Scruffy City Vegan Festival

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.

11 a.m.: Allyson Spellman, TV personality and empowerment speaker, will speak about her personal transition to veganism, the hypocrisy of media and common myths about vegans and the vegan lifestyle.

Noon: Leslie Rudloff, director of legal affairs for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, will speak about her organization’s missions of promoting both plant-based diets and human-relevant medical research.

1 p.m.

: Diane Rutherford, an “EleAmbassador” from The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee, will speak about the sanctuary, its work, the lucky elephants that get to spend their final years just being an elephant and about what wild elephants are currently experiencing.

2 p.m.: Richard Hoyle and Afton Hughes of The Pig Preserve will speak about their 100-acre sanctuary for miniature and farm pigs in the Cumberland Mountains. The Pig Preserve is pioneering a new concept in the sanctuary care of pigs by allowing rescued animals completely free and natural access to woods, pastures and ponds.

3 p.m.: Atlanta hip-hop artist Grey (topic pending).

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.

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