2015 Schedule of Events and Speakers
Room 1 – Presentations
11:15 Introduction to VegMichigan
Jeff Hampton, Master of Ceremonies,
VegMichigan board member
11:30 The Vegan Diet: Debunking the Myths
Anya Todd, licensed, registered dietician
specializing in vegan nutrition
12:45 The Kind Life
Alicia Silverstone, celebrated actress and animal
rights, environmental activist
2:00 Living the Farm Sanctuary Life
Gene Baur, President of Farm Sanctuary, an
organization providing sanctuary for animals
3:15 We Are Approaching the Animal Rights
Jane Velez-Mitchell is an award-winning
television news journalist and author
Room 2 – Cooking Demonstrations
TBD Vegan Cooking Made Easy
Vera Hampton, nutritionist, vegan
cooking instructor, VegMichigan
TBD African Peanut Soup
Russ Hagy, vegan cooking instructor
TBD I Can’t Believe It’s Vegan
Bekah Galang, representing Avalon
Bakery in Detroit, preparing
vegan chocolate cake
- Alicia Silverstone
- Gene Baur
- Jane Valez-Mitchell
- Anya Todd
- Jeff Hampton
- Bekah Galang
- Russ Hagy
- Vera Hampton
Alicia Silverstone made her way from Domino’s Pizza commercials to Clueless fame, morphing into one of the most celebrated actresses today. Known for her role as “Cher” and her tireless activism, Silverstone leverages her fame to promote key issues- from environmentalism and animal rights, to teaching people how a plant-based diet can improve their health as well as the planet’s. A dynamic fixture in the acting, political, and scientific communities, she is a dedicated advocate on behalf of the planet and its animals, and was voted “Sexiest Vegetarian Alive” in 2004.
Getting her break in the leading role in the thriller Crush, Silverstone won two MTV Movie Awards for her performance and quickly went on to star in three Aerosmith videos which brought her fame as “the Aerosmith Chick.” It was after this that Silverstone won the role of “Cher Horowitz” in Clueless, the iconic comedy loosely based on Jane Austen’s Emma which garnered critical acclaim and defined the ‘90s generation. Clueless set “Cher” in well-to-do Beverly Hills, California, whose matchmaking efforts in her wealthy high school wittily paralleled the classic novel.
After Clueless, Silverstone starred in Batman & Robin, Blast from the Past, and Excess Baggage, the first film released from her production company. In Excess Baggage, Silverstone reprised her role of a rich girl, although her intentions were somewhat more malicious – she fakes her own kidnapping to garner attention from her father. Excess Baggage also starred Christopher Walken and Benicio del Toro. Silverstone also appeared in Kenneth Branagh’s Loves Labor Lost, in a much more challenging role which required her to sing and dance.
More recently, Silverstone starred in the television show Miss Match, in which she portrayed a successful matrimonial attorney slash matchmaker who was unable to make her own love life work. After finishing with Miss Match, Silverstone starred in Stormbreaker with Ewan McGregor.
Away from the screen, Silverstone is an accomplished author having penned THE KIND DIET: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet. In The Kind Diet, Silverstone shares outlines the benefits of a plant-based diet, from effortless weight loss to clear skin, increased energy, and smooth digestion. She explains how the foods regarded as thecornerstone of good nutrition are actually escalating rates of disease and causing potentially permanent damage to our ecology.
An avid animal rights activist, Silverstone became a vegan in 1998 and has since championed for the rights of animals everywhere. In 2000, she was honored by FARM at the Animal Rights Conference, and has also been honored with awards by VegNews Magazine.
Gene Baur is co‑founder and president of Farm Sanctuary, America’s leading farm animal protection organization. Gene Baur has been hailed as “the conscience of the food movement” by TIME magazine. For 25 years he has traveled extensively, campaigning to raise awareness about the abuses of industrialized factory farming and our cheap food system. His book, entitled Farm Sanctuary: Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food, was published by Touchstone in March 2008 and has appeared on the Los Angeles Times and The Boston Globe best-seller lists.
Gene Baur has a new book, Living the Farm Sanctuary Life: The Ultimate Guide to a Mindful, Compassionate, Animal-Friendly Life, that will be released on April 7, 2015.
Jane Velez-Mitchell is an award-winning veteran television news journalist and author. In addition, she is a vegan, an animal rights advocate and an environmentalist. Come and listen to her talk on the topic, “We Are Approaching the Animal Rights Tipping Point.”
As an only child growing up on the ninth floor of a Manhattan high-rise, Jane Velez-Mitchell had one constant companion: her little dog, Mr. Monday. But when her parents decided to move to a better apartment with wall-to-wall carpeting, her father found the beloved pet another home.
“I think I became an animal activist right then,” she says. “I was like, ‘This is not right. Animals are part of the family. They shouldn’t be just given away like this.’ It just devastated me. And ever since then I’ve been fighting for animals.”
Over the years, the award-winning TV journalist has brought worldwide attention to a range of cruelties—from wild horse roundups to dolphin slaughter. Her work has garnered three HSUS Genesis Awards, but Velez-Mitchell doesn’t view herself as a hero. “The real heroes in our movement are the ones who cannot accept awards,” she says. “They are the ones who go undercover, often risking their lives, to expose what happens to animals behind closed doors.”
As a dedicated equine advocate, she has reported on some of the most critical issues facing wild and domestic horses in the United States. Her recent programs feature shocking reports on New York City’s inhumane urban carriage horse trade.
For several years, Jane hosted the Jane Velez-Mitchell daily show on HLN (formerly CNN Headline News) where she reported from the scene for many high profile cases, including the Jodi Arias and Casey Antony trials. Her show also included an adoption promotion segment. Rico’s Rescues—named after a Chihuahua Velez-Mitchell’s mother adopted in Puerto Rico—showcases dogs available at Southern California shelters. Every Friday, the show tackled a hard-hitting topic in animal protection; such as use of great apes in invasive research, government-sponsored wolf killing programs, and gestation crates in the pork industry.
Before joining HLN, Velez-Mitchell reported for the nationally syndicated Warner Brothers/Telepictures show, Celebrity Justice and regularly served as a guest host for Nancy Grace, another HLN program. She has appeared as a commentator on HLN, CNN, Inside Edition, OMG!, Insider, The Wendy Williams Show and Dr. Phil. She is the recipient of a Los Angeles Emmy Award and a New York Emmy Award. The KCAL-TV newscasts she co-anchored won three Southern California Golden Mike Awards and an Emmy. She is also a multiple Genesis Award winner. Velez-Mitchell wrote, directed and produced, Dancing Through Life, a documentary which received a Gracie Allen Award in 2001.
Her book, I Want My Journey From Addiciton To a Simpler Honest Life, released in 2009, became a New York Times bestseller. Her most recent book, Exposed: The Secret Life of Jodi Arias, depicts the investigation into the murder of Travis Alexander and the successful prosecution of Jodi Arias. It was released in August of 2013 and became her second New York Times bestseller. She is also the author if Addict Nation, a look at how addictive consumerism is crippling our culture, published in 2011 and Secrets Can Be Murder: What America’s Most Sensational Crimes Tell Us About Ourselves, published in 2007.
Anya Todd is a licensed, registered dietitian specializing in vegan nutrition. A graduate of Case Western Reserve University, Anya completed her internship at the Cleveland Clinic. Anya has worked in every facet of nutrition, including community outreach, education, research, clinical, and private practice. She teaches Maternal & Pediatric Nutrition and Vegan Sports Nutrition for the Wellness Forum Institute for Health Studies, and is Ohio’s state coordinator for the Vegetarian Dietetic Practice Group for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Anya also writes for Mercy For Animals, Your Daily Vegan and Generation Veggie. Passionate about food justice issues, Anya is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Sustainable Food Systems from Green Mountain College.
Jeff Hampton is a graduate mechanical engineer with a minor in environmental sciences from Michigan State University. He developed his love for the environment at a young age, growing up on the shores of Lake Michigan and became involved in Dune Preservation and Restoration projects.
Long before it was fashionable to be green, Jeff designed and built his solar heated and cooled … house. Snug and warm in the middle of February, cool is August!!!
Fifteen years ago, Jeff adopted the Vegan, plant based, lifestyle for health reasons. As he studied the benefits of this lifestyle, he discovered the enormous, detrimental impact of the Standard American Diet …SAD on the environment. Animal agriculture is a curse on our planet. That is the bad news. The good news is that making the shift to a vegan, plant based lifestyle can have an enormous and immediate counter balance, making spaceship earth a far more hospitable place to live.
Jeff is an award winning presenter and competitor in the Toastmasters, International Speech Contest. Jeff’s presentations are entertaining, lively and engaging. Yes, it is possible to combine these elements into a presentation about food choices and the environment. Detailing the impact of factory farming on various eco systems .. land, water and air.
Change your life .. save the planet one bite at a time.
Jeff is a valued member of the Board of Directors for VegMichigan. He will start off an exciting day at VegFest with welcoming remarks, and an introduction to VegMichigan and VegFest. Jeff will also warmly welcome and introduce our nationally-acclaimed speakers.
Bekah Galang graduated from Michigan State University where she studied sustainable food communities. Since then, she has continued her studies through travelling, working on farms and in kitchens, brewing beer, and of course, eating. She has held several
positions in local food systems work, in both non-profit and for-profit organizations. Currently she works with Avalon International Breads sharing the Hearth and Soul of Detroit through tasty special operations, as well as with other projects around the city including Slow Food Detroit- Central City.
Russ Hagy is a past board member for SASHA Farm, a non-profit farm animal sanctuary located in Manchester, MI. He is presently a member of the Ann Arbor Board of Realtors. Russ has a Bachelor of Science in Finance from West Virginia University and was A Mountaineer Mascot for West Virginia University. Russ loves to cook and has been a VegMichigan Veg 101 Cooking Class Instructor at Whole Foods for the last 2 years. He is vegan and has followed a plant-based lifestyle since 1987.
Vera is a member of the VegMichigan board of directors. She has a degree in nutrition and had practiced nutrition counseling for many years. Vegetarian most of her adult life, she has been vegan 12 years. Her passion for cooking and baking started at an early age in her grandmother’s kitchen and continues today. She learned how easy it is to convert any recipe into it’s vegan counterpart, and enjoys sharing her love of vegan cooking at the vegan cooking classes she conducts at Whole Foods.
Note: Information is subject to change.