Speakers & Presentations

An early peek at some of the incredible educational offerings to be featured at Hudson Valley Vegfest 2017!




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! 



AUTHOR, AND Founder of main street vegan academy

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.



Physician, founder of International fund for africa

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.



Author & TIRELESS advocate for our LITTLE feathered friends

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."



Writer & activist educating on the sentience of ocean ANIMALS

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 forthcoming 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.”




Robin Lamont

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.



More exciting speakers and presenters to be announced! Sign up to get the latest festival additions and news:

...and use the links below to connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!