THE INCREDIBLE Speakers & Presentations OF 2017:

A peek at some of the incredible educational offerings to be featured at Hudson Valley Vegfest 2017!
(Please note: Exact time of presentations posted on the Weekend Schedule Page. All dates and times of presentations subject to change.)




To learn about PLANTBUILT is to turn everything you thought you knew about achieving strength, muscle and peak fitness on its head!  Incorporating the latest, most advanced health and nutritional information, each member of the PlantBuilt team has achieved their goals without any animal products. In fact, they view plant-based living as essential to accomplishing elite levels of strength, health and wellness, and will share that with you at Hudson Valley Vegfest! PlantBuilt has over 70 members around the country, all committed to the highest levels of athleticism in tandem with educating on the benefits of veganism and being cruelty-free. In the words of the collective: "We live, train, compete and educate in our communities, showing the success of compassionate veganism."  Even cooler: any monies raised by the team as competition winnings or donations exceeding operations costs are given to farm sanctuaries and vegan outreach groups.

PlantBuilt Team members will be doing presentations on both days of the festival, as well as on hand to meet you at their booth!


Victoria Moran


Victoria Moran is so many things: author, 32-year vegan(!), podcaster, educator, and all-around inspiration to many. Her latest book is The Good Karma Diet: Eat Gently, Feel Amazing, Age in Slow Motion. As a bestselling author she has written twelve books, including Creating a Charmed Life, The Love-Powered Diet, and the iconic Main Street Vegan (her college thesis became Compassion the Ultimate Ethic: An Exploration of Veganism, first published in 1985 - the first work on vegan philosophy and practice to come from a major publisher.) Known and beloved as an inspirational speaker, she is also a certified holistic health counselor (HHC, AADP), and graduate of the T. Colin Campbell Foundation/eCornell program in plant-based nutrition. She regularly hosts the Main Street Vegan radio show/podcast (awarded Outstanding Vegan Media Outlet 2015) and is founder and director of MAIN STREET VEGAN ACADEMY. Victoria has appeared twice on The Oprah Winfrey Show and is a coach for PCRM’s 21-Day Vegan Kickstart. Her articles have appeared in Yoga Journal, Mothering, Natural Health, Woman’s Day, Martha Stewart’s Whole Living, VegNews, and more. Her work has been noted in USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, the Washington Post, Self, Elle, Glamour, Allure, and O, the Oprah Magazine. She was just named Peta’s Sexiest Vegan Over 50. Victoria is a true vegan powerhouse, out to change hearts and minds and inspire as many people as possible to live a healthier, more compassionate and deeply fulfilling life.


DR. Anteneh Roba, MD


Dr. Anteneh Roba is the Founder of THE INTERNATIONAL FUND FOR AFRICA. Roba and IFA have done profound work on behalf of both humans and animals in Ethiopia -  from medical missions and establishing clinics that have brought physicians, medicine and equipment to treat infants and adults in different regions, to setting up food programs for the hungry and educating on the benefits of a plant-based diet, nutritionally and as a powerful tool to alleviate hunger and oppression… and uniquely, IFA has also rescued and advocated for animals as part of their mission. Dr. Roba's life changed in 1999, when he had the opportunity to care for a little dog named Nikita, who caused him to awaken to the sentience and suffering of all beings. Not long after, in 2003, Roba journeyed from where he was a practicing physician in Texas, back to his motherland, Ethiopia. There, he made powerful connections: He saw babies dying of diseases that were treatable and preventable, and he saw homeless children sleeping on concrete, not receiving the nutrition they needed; at the same time, there were animals suffering as well, being needlessly tortured and not receiving food or care. With a changed perspective, Roba returned to the United States and the International Fund for Africa was born. Since 2003, Roba has also contributed writings to books such as the compendium Circles of Compassion, and a chapter in the book Rethink Food: 100+ Doctors Can't be Wrong - as well as contributed writings to numerous magazine and websites, spoken at conferences and more. Propelled by his own compassionate journey and years of incredible work – whether as a physician, an advocate for a nutritional plant-based diet for Africa in order to end cycles of poverty and malnutrition, working with vegetarian/vegan societies in Ghana and Togo and being instrumental in establishing the first Ethiopian Vegan Association, or be it working with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine or caring for his own rescued canine family, Dr. Roba’s story, efforts and voice will move and inspire everyone to embrace a more global, just and compassionate vision.


Karen Davis


Calling all chicken lovers and avian caretakers of the Hudson Valley: come listen and learn from one of the top avian advocates, Karen Davis, PhD. Davis is the Founder and President of UNITED POULTRY CONCERNS, a nonprofit organization that, since 1990, has promoted the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl and operates a sanctuary for chickens in Virginia. She is the author of Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs: An Inside Look at the Modern Poultry Industry; More Than a Meal: The Turkey in History, Myth, Ritual, and Reality; A Home for Henny; and Instead of Chicken, Instead of Turkey: A Poultryless “Poultry” Potpourri. Davis has also contributed writings to many incredible, must-read compendiums including Sister Species: Women, Animals, and Social Justice; Experiencing Animal Minds: An Anthology of Animal-Human Encounters; Defining Critical Animal Studies: An Intersectional Social Justice Approach to Liberation; Animals and Women: Feminist Theoretical Explorations; Critical Animal Studies: Thinking the Unthinkable; Critical Theory and Animal Liberation, and more, including the forthcoming book in 2016, Meat Culture. In 2002 Karen Davis was inducted into the National Animal Rights Hall of Fame for Outstanding Contributions to Animal Liberation. If you think you know all there is to know about the feathered beings that so many take for granted, attend Karen's presentation and be prepared to see them in a new and profound light.


Tony & Miriam Chisholm


Tony and Miriam Chisholm are the organizers behind NEW YORK FARM ANIMAL SAVE (NYFAS), an all-volunteer group whose mission is to promote the benefits of a vegan, compassionate lifestyle. NYFAS seeks to educate the public through bearing witness, community outreach and education where the main issues are human health, environmental well-being and the suffering of “food” animals. NYFAS concentrates its educational outreach activities in communities and neighborhoods lacking in healthy and nutritional food resources. A sister organization of Toronto Pig Save, they follow a Gandhian love-based approach and hold peaceful vigils to bear witness (and thereby, call attention) to the plight of animals on their way to slaughter. "Our goals are to put glass walls on factory farms, live markets, and slaughterhouses in New York State, and contribute to the public debate about the place of animals in our society." Whether through one-on-one conversation, group action, or their amazing Path Train and billboard sign campaigns, NYFAS is an inclusive group that welcomes all who wish to participate, and their presentation will inspire you to "be the change."

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Naliaka Wakhisi


Naliaka Wakhisi is a Miami native who currently resides in Brooklyn, NY. She moved to NYC to complete her Master's in Interactive Technology at NYU in order to give young people a way to tell their stories powerfully using new technologies. She also has a passion for fitness and nutrition and has been working with adults and children for the past five years in the fitness industry. Outside of the gym and the classroom, she works as a Chef Assistant at the Natural Gourmet Institute and organizes many events around food justice, healthy eating, and plant based cooking. The focus of her food is health supportive, comfort soul food.  She runs an active meetup group called NYC VEGANS OF COLOR where she organizes several monthly events geared toward creating community around people of color and plant based eating. Additionally, in an effort to expand messages around plant based eating and community, she has started a company called THE BLACK THEORY, a travel company that creates vacation experiences for groups of travelers through a vegan lens. Events include local trips, day parties, weekend getaways, international travel, vegan neighborhood tours, and cooking classes. Her goal is to eventually connect folks of color around the globe through plant based food and travel. With a passion for education and empowerment, she now works as an educator with various NYC organizations and non-profits. In addition to her work as an educator, she is an overall artist who focuses on dance, media, and storytelling. Did we mention that she won the People's Choice Award at NYC Veg Food Fest for her Pumpkin Mac With Coconut Sage Cream Sauce and Shitake Bacon?!


Mary Finelli


Mary Finelli is a longtime animal rights activist, writer and researcher with a B.S. in Animal Science, who is President and Chairperson of FISH FEEL. Fish Feel is the first organization devoted exclusively to promoting the recognition of fish as sentient beings deserving of respect and protection. Despite being the largest category of animals used for food (feed and entertainment), fish receive relatively very little attention, even from within the animal rights community. Fish Feel primarily serves to help educate the public as to why these animals are deserving of our appreciation, the immense problems caused by their exploitation, and how we can help them. With a primary focus on farmed animals, Finelli has worked for various animal protection organizations, including as Researcher and then Program Director for the Humane Society of the United States from 1992 to 1999. Mary was the Producer of Farmed Animal Watch, a weekly online news digest sponsored by numerous animal protection organizations. She has assisted with research for several books, and co-wrote a chapter of In Defense of Animals: The Second Wave, as well as being a a top contributor to AR-News, Animal_Net, and other animal rights and news listservs. She says she’s focused her past activism on farmed animals because she considers them to be the greatest category of exploited animals, arguably suffering the worst abuses, with the least amount of attention or protection. Mary says, “I have come to realize that aquatic species constitute that category, and I want to do what I can to draw positive attention to them and their plight.”


Maya Gottfried


With her new book, Vegan Love (Skyhorse Publishing; April 2017), Hudson Valley resident Maya Gottfried explores dating and partnering as a vegan - and all aspects of engaging in love relationships while living an ethical lifestyle. The book features interviews with a variety of notable vegan women including Jane Velez-Mitchell (JaneUnChained), Marisa Miller Wolfson (Vegucated), Carolyn Malachi (Grammy-nominated musician), and Jasmin Singer (Always Too Much and Never Enough). Gottfried has also written three books for children, including Our Farm: By the Animals of Farm Sanctuary (Knopf), now in its second printing. Gottfried has written on veganism and animal rights related issues for a number of websites, including The Huffington Post, Our Hen House, Girlie Girl Army, AOL News, and PawNation. Her blogs for The Huffington Post have earned thousands of social networking shares. She has also written for outlets ranging from People online, to Lilith magazine. The essay she contributed to anthology Half / Life: Jew-ish Tales from Interfaith Homes (Soft Skull Press) was consistently picked as a favorite of the collection by reviewers. The New York Observer wrote of it, “I can’t wait to see what she writes next for adults. Because everything she had said was real, precise and full of meaning.”

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Fran Costigan


Fran Costigan, pastry chef, cookbook author and Director of Vegan Baking and Pastry at Rouxbe cooking school, is internationally renowned as the authority on vegan desserts. Professionally trained, Fran was a chef in both traditional and vegan pastry kitchens before moving into teaching over 20 years ago. Her unapologetically luscious confections lack nothing—except dairy, eggs, white sugar, and cholesterol, and have changed perceptions the world over about vegan baking. Fran’s cookbook,Vegan Chocolate Dessert: Unapologetically Luscious and Decadent Dairy-Free Desserts, is available in German, French and Italian editions and follows the classic, More Great Good Dairy Free Desserts Naturally. You can find Fran sharing her passion across North America and Europe, at schools, conferences, festivals, and corporations such as Google, at resorts and on cruise ships too. A professional member of New York Women’s Culinary Alliance, and International Association of Culinary Professionals, Fran is proud to be an advisory board member of the New York Coalition for Healthy School Foods, Vegan Trade Council and Main Street Vegan Academy.

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What the Health is the groundbreaking follow-up film from the creators of the award winning documentary Cowspiracy. The film follows intrepid filmmaker Kip Andersen as he uncovers the secret to preventing and even reversing chronic diseases – and investigates why the nation’s leading health organizations don’t want us to know about it. With heart disease and cancer the leading causes of death in America, and diabetes at an all-time high, the film reveals possibly the largest health cover-up of our time. With the help of medical doctors, researchers, and consumer advocates, What the Health exposes the collusion and corruption in government and big business that is costing us trillions of healthcare dollars, and keeping us sick; a surprising, and at times hilarious, investigative documentary that will be an eye-opener for everyone concerned about our nation’s health and how big business influences it.




Author Robin Lamont's incredibly diverse careers include Broadway actress, private investigator, and county prosecutor.  Her first novel If Thy Right Hand was named Best of 2011 by Suspense Magazine and awarded the 2012 Gold Medal in the Independent Publishers Book Awards. Several years ago, she became painfully aware of the nameless and voiceless animals who are subjugated for the sake of entertainment, fashion, food, and sport. She also began to see more clearly than ever the wonder of these animals – their amazing survival skills, intricate communication, and the emotional bond they form with humans and with each other. It has been this growing awareness that inspired the groundbreaking fiction of THE KINSHIP SERIES. Her first book in this series, The Chain, was a Foreword Reviews 2013 Book of the Year Finalist. The 2nd book, The Trap, followed in 2015. Lamont has broken new and inspiring ground in fiction with this series and her creation of a female animal rights investigator protagonist named Jude - and in a career that includes profound accomplishments in so many diverse fields, Lamont says she is most proud of this endeavor which "brings together my love of writing and my passion for animals." She lives in the Hudson Valley with her husband and beloved rescue, Kaley.

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Hannah Kullberg is co-founder of the Better Bean Company, maker of fresh ready-to-eat beans. Known as the Bean Queen, she is passionate about the health benefits & sustainability of beans. Hannah worked on an organic farm while studying food systems at Vassar College. She helped usher Better Beans through non-GMO verification and advocated on the local food policy council, and she believes deeply in the power of business to make positive change. For her talk, she'll make you a bean expert, too, and teach you everything you needed to know about legumes, that you didn't even know to ask!

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Performing - and THE HV VEGFEST house band! - BOTH DAYS (SATURDAY & SUNDAY)

15-year old Ameliarose Allen is a singer-songwriter, actor & activist who has appeared on "Celebrity Ghost Stories," "The Today Show" and Nickelodeon. She is a news anchor & reporter on the Emmy Award winning TV show “Teen Kids News.” Ameliarose is passionate about animals & the environment, taking pride in the fact that she lives a vegan lifestyle, hoping to inspire other teens by setting an example and educating her peers. She is also representing “VEGANTEEN” a support group for compassionate young people. Ameliarose and her band ANTIC will be playing music throughout both days of HV Vegfest!


THE PEEP'S PLACE with Betsy Farrell-Messenger

(In the Main Vendor Hall all Weekend!)

Betsy Farrell-Messenger is an Institute for Humane Education certificate graduate who sees the possibilities with childhood education for better fostering of kindness, compassion and responsibility. She has been teaching for 21 years. Her focus is the natural sciences, with an emphasis on environmental issues and the connections to humans and animals. She has created "The Peep's Place" as a space for kids at Hudson Valley Vegfest to engage in fun educational activities centered on compassion, animals, nutrition and making the world a better place!  Betsy is also on the board and is the volunteer coordinator at Northeast Avian Rescue, and a volunteer at Reenie's Rabbit Rescue. She shares her home with three rabbits, six birds, and one cat.


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