The Veg Food Fest is North America’s largest vegetarian festival. Having grown over the past 32 years to have more than 100 exhibitors and more than 50,000 attendees, it’s no longer feasible to have just one full time staff member devoted to planning it all during the summer. So each summer we’re fortunate to hire a Veg Food Fest Assistant to help Alyssa work with vendors and plan special events and promotions for everyone’s favourite day of the year.

What do you do at the Toronto Vegetarian Association?

I am the Festival Assistant! That means I help Alyssa, our Festival & Events coordinator, with planning our 32nd Annual Veg Food Fest this September. On the daily, I assist with planning logistics, marketing and communicating with vendors. On occasion, I will help Barbi with any administrative duties or helping drop-in visitors at our TVA office!

How did you become interested in vegetarianism?
I’ve always loved cooking and been passionate about sustainability and social justice. Until I reached university, it never dawned on me that the two were so deeply intertwined. After educating myself and meeting other veg people in  university, I knew that going veg was more what was on my plate. It had meaningful ethical, environmental and health issues.
So I started myself on a 30-Day trial (I never knew about TVA’s Veggie Challenge) and the rest is history. Since then, I’ve become vegan and it’s the easiest but best lifestyle decision that I’ve ever made.

What do you like most about working for TVA?
I like that TVA is a small-knit organization and filled with people who care deeply about one another. It is a supportive network and we always like to bounce ideas off of one another. It feels great to be supported at the workplace!

What is a hidden talent that people might not know about you?
A hidden talent that people don’t know is that I’m music savvy. My favourite instrument is the piano, but I also play some guitar and bass guitar when I’m with friends.

What is your favourite healthy meal or snack?
My favourite healthy meal has to be quinoa or couscous salad. It’s easy to make and I like keeping it colourful with tomatoes, cucumbers, kale and other tasty vegetables!

What is your favourite indulgence?
My favourite indulgence has to be Vegan Mac ‘n’ Cheeze. I love making the cashew-based sauce and spicing it up with some chili, lime, and sriracha. You’ve got to try it!

The Veg Food Fest is coming up September 9-11… is there something you’re especially looking forward to?
There’s so many things to look forward to this year! I’d say seeing Masterchef Winner Mary Berg and Candice Hutchings (The Edgy Veg) perform at this year’s festival. Needless to say, I’m a total foodie and a not-so-secret fan of both of them.