Victoria Vegan Fest



We’re changing the format a bit this year – instead of a separate Speaker’s Room, we’ll be featuring our presenters on the main stage! This will eliminate problems with a packed room and overheating. Check our Schedule exact speaking times plus other activities.

We’re welcoming back Vesanto Melina this year, and welcoming Fireweed and Deb Gleason, both first time speaking appearance at the Vegan Fest! 

Vesanto Melina, MS, Registered Dietitian
Update on Vegetarian, Vegan, and Raw Nutrition

vesanto2This presentation highlights a few highlights in the world of vegetarian, vegan, and raw food nutrition and a few of the topics people wonder about. These include:

  • Where will I get my protein?
  • What are iron rich plant foods for babies, children, (and everybody else)?
  • Are carbs good or bad?
  • Is soy good or bad?
  • Will a vegetarian diet make me healthier?
  • Can I get tasty food?

Vesanto Melina has taught nutrition at the University of British Columbia and at Seattle’s Bastyr University.  She is co-author of ten bestselling books on vegan nutrition and foods, which are now in eight languages and have sold two thirds of a million copies. Her “Becoming Vegan: Express Edition” (with Brenda Davis) won the 2014 Canada Book Award, is finalist as ForeWord’s book of the year, and got star rating from the American Library Association as “the go-to book” on vegan nutrition. Vesanto co-authored the joint position paper on vegetarian diets of Dietitians of Canada and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Visit Vesanto online: and

Deb Gleason, Holistic Nutritionist, Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Plant Powered Chef
Life in the Kitchen with Esther the Wonder Pig

DebGleasonEsther the Wonder Pig is changing lives in a big way. Her Facebook page has generated over 145,000 likes and on a daily basis you will find someone in the comments who says they can no longer eat meat because of Esther. Esther’s Kitchen, a sister page was born from this and this is where Deb comes in. As Esther’s Executive Chef she answers the questions people have about moving to an “Esther Approved” (vegan) lifestyle. Deb posts mouth-watering recipies with gorgeous pictures to show the abundance of a vegan diet and to help facilitate people’s transition to this clean and powerful way of living. Deb will share her insights into Esther the Wonder Pig, why this has become an unstoppable movement of compassion and how easy and delicious living an “Esther Approved” lifestyle can be.

Deb Gleason is a Certified Holistic Nutritionist, Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Founder of When not empowering people to take back their health, she can be found creating mouth-watering recipes for both her clients and for fans of Esther the Wonder Pig in Esther’s Kitchen. As a former Homicide Detective she’s learned that cheeseburgers are far more deadly than guns. Deb has chosen to dedicate her life to helping people liberate their natural vitality through a plant-powered lifestyle as they connect to their core values of compassion for animals, the planet, and themselves.

Find Deb online here:

Fireweed, ecofeminist vegan
A Look at Locavorism and Veganic Growing


fireweed2Ecofeminist activist Fireweed is a longtime animal advocate interested in how the politics of food intersects with various environmental and social justice issues. Her slideshow will present a vegan view of food choices vs. food miles, and also introduce festival-goers to the exciting and growing movement of animal-free agriculture (which builds soil fertility without the use of any animal inputs, including manure.)

Fireweed has been recognized as a “Local Female Food Hero” by Oxfam for her contributions to community in relation to vegan advocacy and food sustainability. Among other projects, she is the co-founder of the Denman Island Veganiculture Association, and SPUDS co-op…a local organic potato farming initiative that provides its membership affordable access to land for the collective growing of this nutritious staple.

An admin for several social media sites related to feminism, animal rights and environmental issues, Fireweed is also a published author. Her work was recently included in the Lantern Books anthology, “Call to Compassion: Religious Reflections on Animal Advocacy”, and she writes a bi-monthly column called ‘The Transition Kitchen’ for the Island Word on Vancouver Island. The latter is all about transitioning towards greater personal and planetary well-being by thinking globally and voting for a healthy, more compassionate world for all one bite at a time!

Fireweed also works as an herbalist, vegan chef, animal care provider, graphic designer and promoter of the visual arts. She lives in the woods and gardens at Redamora on Denman Island with her partner Mike, another dedicated animal advocate involved in wildlife rescue, Trap/Neuter/Return for local felines, and delicious vegan recipe testing!

Celebrate a Redamora harvest HERE, and visit The Transition Kitchen archives on-line @