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All-vegan food event returns in September

The New Creative
by Cassandra Bernard

Veg PEI co-founder Hilary Wood (photo: Cassandra Bernard)Veg PEI will be back this September with their third annual Veg it Up all-vegan food event taking place across the province.

In 2016 Veg PEI hosted their first ever Veg it Up event, an Island-wide initiative where local restaurants create fully vegan dishes to have as a special on their menu for the duration of the event, kind of like Burger Love, but for plant-based eaters!

The event has grown over the past two years, from being a three-day event in 2016 to a full two-week event this year, and the organization has focused on branching out to restaurants outside of the Charlottetown area this year. Co-founder and president of Veg PEI, Hilary Wood, says Veg it Up is currently the only food festival on PEI that doesn’t use any animal products. “This makes it super easy for vegetarians, vegans, and other plant-based folks to enjoy. Meat-eaters are also encouraged to try some dishes too!”

Folks around the Island choose which dishes they want to try, and then have the opportunity to vote for their top favourite dishes in three categories: People’s Choice, Most Creative, and Best Out-of-Charlottetown. Says Hilary, “A lot of restaurants have been pleasantly surprised by the amount of plant-based customers that they’ve seen come through their restaurant because of this event and have even kept their Veg It Up dish on their menu after the event ended because of popularity!”

Veg PEI also hosts monthly vegan community potlucks. “The first potluck attracted 80 people, more than double of what I expected. And that made me realize there was a big veg community here,” Hilary explains. “We focus on community events such as our potlucks, and act as a resource for those who are curious about veg-friendly options on PEI.”

One of their priorities for the future will be to host vegan potlucks in the Summerside area. “We have also been working on a full restaurant directory that we can have as a resource on our website so anyone that is looking for vegan options knows where to find them,” she says. “I’d also love to have a vegan mentor program sometime in the future as well. Our brains are full of ideas and we can’t wait for them to all come into fruition in the future!”

Veg it Up will take place from September 21 til October 4 this year.

—Cassandra Bernard is a freelance writer who contibutes monthly to The Buzz, as well as to other Prince Edward Island and Atlantic Canadian publications.

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