Top 12 frequently asked questions about Veg Fest

We are now less than three days until Veg Fest gets underway, so we thought we would take the opportunity to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the event.

Firstly, to summarize, Ottawa Veg Fest is organized by the National Capital Vegetarian Association (NCVA- that’s us!) and sponsored by The Table Vegetarian Restaurant. It will be held on April 29 between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the Glebe Community Centre and Corpus Christi School. It will feature exhibitors, guest speakers, cooking demos, a silent auction, and Ottawa’s Next Top Vegan 31-Day Challenge.  Admission is free.

Q: What is the NCVA, and how does it organize Veg Fest?

Veg Fest is 100% volunteer driven

A: The NCVA is a small volunteer-run organization committed to promoting the vegan lifestyle for its many benefits, and helping to develop the social infrastructure to support it.  The NCVA has no paid staff.  The Veg Fest organizing group is a small core of volunteers who commit many hundreds of hours to bringing  the event to life.

Q: Do I have to be a vegetarian or vegan to come to Veg Fest?

A: Heck no! Everyone is welcome at Veg Fest, and we mean everyone. And no, not in the same way a vegan is “welcome” at a grilling contest. We want people from all walks of life to come and enjoy delicious vegan food, and learn more about this way of living, in a no-pressure environment.  Drop by the NCVA table to say hello!

Q:  Who are the speakers at Veg Fest? How do I know when they will be speaking?

A: That info is available on our website.  (They are Jo-Anne McArthur, Jack Norris RD and James McWillians PhD.)  If you want more detailed info about each speaker, scroll back a page or two on this blog. We have done extensive Q & A’s with each of them.

One thing to note is that the presentations will be occurring at Corpus Christi school this year, which is across from the Glebe Community Centre. Watch for the costumed carrot, cow, pea and planet earth to help guide you there.

Q: What is this Veg Challenge panel happening at 4 p.m.  Is that just for people who have signed up for the 31-Day Vegan Challenge?

A:  The panel includes NCVA President Josh Flower, Wellness Warrior Coaching‘s Deb Gleason, and Credible Edible‘s Judi Varga-Toth. They will be answering questions plant-based diets. We encourage Veg Challenge participants to come to this event to have their questions and concerns addressed, but we welcome anyone who wants to learn more to come and ask a question.

Q:  Why isn’t _______ an exhibitor at Veg Fest? Who are the exhibitors?

A: There could be many reasons. It is possible they weren’t interested in being an exhibitor. It is also possible that they were interested, but tried to register too late. Veg Fest  exhibitor space fills up quickly every year, usually about six weeks before the event. We only have room for about 32 exhibitors, which also means we have to be a bit selective about who participates.

As for who the exhitibitors are, you can see a list here.

Q: Why doesn’t Veg Fest have _______?

A: There could be many reasons for that too. It could be that we didn’t think of it. It could also be that we did think of it but researched it and realized it wasn’t feasible. It is also possible that we really wanted to do it, but didn’t have enough volunteer power. We invite you to make suggestions for how we can improve the event, but even more, we invite you to become part of organizing future events.  Just email us at ncva.avcn at gmail dot come if you would like to get involved.

Q: What happened to the cupcake contest?

A: Nothing happened to it, we just decided to do the 31-Day Vegan Challenge instead, to try something new.  The venue isn’t big enough to hold lots of different off-shoots of the event. We are considering holding the cupcake contest as a stand-alone event sometime in the coming months, but it will really depend on our volunteer resources.

Q: How do I get to Veg Fest? Is there parking?

A: The great thing about the Glebe is there are lots of ways to get there. There is parking available throughout the Glebe, and some limited off-street parking available in the immediate vicinity of the community centre.  For a map, see here.

Q: Where do funds raised for the silent auction go?

A: The silent action is the single fund raising event that the NCVA does to raise money for itself. The silent auction money is used to support NCVA operations, including things like paying to exhibit at other events, normal operating costs, printing etc.  On other occasions where the NCVA has raised money (i.e. Veg Ball, the Glebe Garage Sale) the NCVA donated the money to other charities. The NCVA receives no grant money; it is just a very leanly operated organization.

Q:  Why does Veg Fest only have vegan food and products when your association has vegetarian in the name?

A:  The NCVA promotes plant-based diets, and wants to show people all of the amazing plant-based foods that are available.  Cheese, dairy, eggs and so on are all readily available everywhere, and are not plant-based, so the NCVA sees no need to include them at Veg Fest. Having a vegan-only policy also ensures that people at all points on the veg spectrum can enjoy the offerings at Veg Fest without the normal struggle of constant label reading. This includes NCVA volunteers, the majority of whom are vegan.  Veg Fest strives to be a safe place for those who wish to keep animals and animal products off their plates.

Q: Can you guarantee me that everything at Veg Fest is 100% vegan?

A: The only way that anyone can guarantee that is to make their own food all of the time.  The NCVA requires its exhibitors to sign an agreement which statess that they understand the Veg Fest rules and regulations, which includes that all products being sold and promoted at Veg Fest be vegan. We clearly explain the definition of vegan, and we try to screen the exhibitors the best we can to ensure that their products/services are suitable for vegans.  We do our very best, but cannot be held liable if there is a rogue exhibitor. If it is brought to our attention, we will address the issue as quickly as possible.

Q: So how do I show my appreciation to this fabulous organization that is doing so much to advance the veg cause in the Ottawa Community? 😉

A: That’s easy! For one thing, come to Veg Fest.  Once you’re there, become a NCVA member. It is $20 for the year and has some awesome discounts at restaurants like Cafe My House, ZenKitchen, and The Table. Plus, you are supporting a small volunteer organization to make a difference.  And if you are totally inspired, then consider joining us as a volunteer. We could always use more enthusiastic people on our team.

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