Rich Howells

First-ever NEPA Vegfest promotes plant-based diets and healthy living in Scranton on Sept. 16

First-ever NEPA Vegfest promotes plant-based diets and healthy living in Scranton on Sept. 16
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After the Scranton VegFest was canceled about a month before its inaugural event, a different event with different organizers has emerged to take its place – the NEPA Vegfest.

The first-time event is “based on promoting compassion, health, and wellness in our community” and “will include craft vendors, plant-based food, speakers, cooking demos, music, yoga, fitness education, and children’s activities, all based on promoting wellness within the area,” according to its Facebook page. A vegan bake-off competition is also planned, and the main table will be collecting unopened nonperishable plant-based food to be donated to the St. Francis of Assisi Kitchen in Scranton.

NEPA Vegfest will be held at Schautz Memorial Stadium (1209 Prescott Ave., Scranton) on Saturday, Sept. 16 from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. It is all ages, pet friendly, and everyone is welcome, including carnivores. A portion of the proceeds will benefit The Farmhouse Sanctuary, a local nonprofit that saves and rehabilitates abused and abandoned farm animals.

Much like the ill-fated Scranton VegFest, this festival has not been without its own little bit of controversy. Originally, its proceeds were going to be donated to The Greenhouse Project, a nonprofit that educates people of all ages about food, gardening, health, the environment, and sustainable living while operating the James McNulty Greenhouse in Nay Aug Park in Scranton.

“While they do so much for our community locally, there has been a growing issue with the NEPA Vegfest community that is in opposition to funds from this event going to an organization that also distributes animal products through their involvement with a local [Community Supported Agriculture]. The Greenhouse Project themselves have nothing to do with animal use but are in fact a drop-off point for this CSA. With heavy hearts, we will no longer be able to offer a portion of the proceeds from this event to the greenhouse,” organizers explained on Facebook.

“That being said, we hope that everyone will continue to support the amazing plant-based wellness programs that the greenhouse does indeed offer Scranton and its surrounding areas! They have changed so many hearts and minds towards better living, and our community flourishes because of Jane and all of those involved with The Greenhouse!”

Despite this, NEPA Vegfest is set to become a new annual event in Northeastern Pennsylvania that offers something different from traditional local festivals like La Festa Italiana. With food vendors that include Grateful Roast, Parlor City Vegan, Terra Preta, The Cinnamon Snail, The Kimchi Dude, and Vegan Treats, it may convert some meat-eaters or, at the very least, give them something new to chew on.

For more details, see the Facebook event page.