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VegFest Emcee and Speaker Lineup Announced

                  Rehoboth Beach VegFest Emcee and Speaker Lineup Announced
                ~Award-winning vegan author, activist, visual artist John Schlimm to lead this year’s ceremonies~
Organizers of Rehoboth Beach VegFest 2014 are thrilled to announce that super-charged John Schlimm will head up the exciting list of celebrities and experts taking part in this year’s VegFest festivities.
An international award-winning author, activist, and visual artist, Schlimm will serve as Master of Ceremonies at the free Festival At Epworth UM Church on Saturday June 14th.  Schlimm is noted for his vibrant positive energy, and is described by Philly.com as “high-voltage.”
Schlimm will also exhibit three pieces from The Book of Compassion series at Rehoboth Beach VegFest, including 34 Compassion Paintings and two crowdsourced pieces on-site at VegFest: Planting Compassion and THE SMILE THAT CHANGED THE WORLD (is yours). The goal of John’s evolving multimedia series of artwork is to inspire, spread, and encourage discussion about compassion for all living beings across the globe. John’s Book of Compassion pieces include paintings; pencil, marker, and pen renderings; photography; video; sculpture; installations; writing; performance art; crowdsourced art; and others.
This year Rehoboth VegFest has expanded into a 3-day area-wide celebration, with various events going on all around town.  Following the free Festival At Epworth, John will also be a special guest at the ‘After Fest Happy Hour’ at Cilantro Cocina de Mexico on Saturday evening June 14th.
Other guest speakers for the VegFest Festival At Epworth include plant-based nutrition experts and leaders in the animal protection community.   Susan Levin, M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D., and director of nutrition education for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), will speak on plant-based eating and disease prevention. States Levin: “I just want to teach people that a lot of these chronic diseases are so preventable. Many people are eating in ways that inflict damage upon themselves, and they don’t realize it.”
Rehoboth VegFest will also feature a “Plant Based Nutrition Tent,” where festival-goers can “Ask a Vegan Nutritionist.”  The tent is hosted by local plant-based nutrition expert and blogger Dorothy Greet, speaking with other local experts Michele Williams and Dr. Lori Irelan.
Returning this year is Paul Shapiro, the vice president of farm animal protection at The Humane Society of the United States and founder of Compassion Over Killing. Paul Shapiro been interviewed in hundreds of broadcast media and published dozens of papers on animal protection, from mainstream newspapers to academic journals. He is widely recognized as an expert in farm animal advocacy.
After the Welcome and Introductions, Festival At Epworth opens with Heidi Helou, a local health and fitness expert and owner/trainer at Flex World Fitness of Georgetown DE. Heidi will give a demonstration on making smoothies for health.
Executive Chef Gretchen Hanson of Hobos Restaurant and Bar will present a vegan cooking demonstration, and Dr. Ruby Lathon will present a cooking demonstration on holistic health & wellness.
Gretchen Hanson honed her food philosophy—food as love, healing, and community—while traveling the globe on a culinary tour and while catering to those with medical problems such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. As executive chef at Hobos Restaurant in Rehoboth Beach, Gretchen offers a variety of plant-based meals to introduce patrons to delicious meat-free eating.
In 2007, Dr. Lathon was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and instead of following the route to surgery, opted to use a whole-foods, plant-based diet as medicine. A year and a half later, her tumor had completely dissolved. She uses her powerful story of recovery to teach others about the benefit and power of plant based foods and provides tools for living healthy, disease-free lives. Dr. Lathon served as Nutrition Policy Manager and Lobbyist at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine where she led an initiative to improve child nutrition and prevent chronic disease through emphasis on plant-based options in the National School Lunch Program. She is a health and wellness contributing writer for African American Lifestyle Magazine, author of the upcoming book Above the Clouds, and host of “The Veggie Chest,” a plant-based cooking web series.
“People are discovering for themselves they feel better choosing plant-based foods,” notes Ruth Lamothe, VegFest Organizing Committee Chair.  “At VegFest, they can hear nutrition experts discuss it first-hand, and get cooking tips and food samples too – how lovely!”
Also appearing at the Festival is Rachel Atcheson, Philadelphia director for The Humane League; she will speak on “The Hows and Whys of Vegetarian Eating.”  Rachel spearheaded the Meatless Monday initiative with the City of Philadelphia, resulting in passage of the City Council Resolution; she is currently promoting the adoption of Meatless Monday throughout the School District of Philadelphia. Rachel’s outreach also includes giving “Humane Education” presentations at schools across the US.
Other Rehoboth VegFest 2014 special guest speakers include acclaimed film producer Liz Marshall and photojournalist Jo-Anne McArthur.
Liz Marshall, a Toronto born/based filmmaker, is Director, Producer, and Writer of the much-heralded documentary The Ghosts in Our Machine, a film that illuminates the lives of individual animals living within the machine of our modern world.
‘Ghosts’ opened to wide acclaim in 4 major US cities in 2013. Liz is a multi-award winning auteur filmmaker who fuses character-driven cinematic storytelling with social and environmental justice issues.
Jo-Anne McArthur is an award-winning photojournalist and creator of the internationally celebrated documentary project, We Animals.  In We Animals, Jo-Anne photographs our interactions with animals in such a way that the viewer finds new significance in ordinary, often unnoticed situations of us, abuse, and sharing spaces. Since the conception of the project, stories and photographs for We Animals have been shot in over 40 countries and the photos have contributed to 100 worldwide campaigns to end the suffering of animals, including Igualdad Animal, Sea Shepherd, and the Jane Goodall Institute.
Jo-Anne’s recent awards and accolades include the 2013 Compassion for Animals Award; the 2011 Canadian Empathy Award (art category); one of CBC’s Top 50 Champions for Change, Farm Sanctuary’s 2010 “Friend of Farm Animals” award; and HuffPost WOMEN’S “Top 10 women trying to change the world.
Marshall and McArthur, in town for the Delaware premiere of the documentary film The Ghosts in our Machine, will lead a Q&A session after the film screening Friday night, 8pm at The Atlantic Sands Hotel. The film screening event is the inspiration of Salisbury-resident and animal advocate Kimberly Roemer, who has been the driving force to bring the film’s producer and subject to Rehoboth Beach.   Marshall and McArthur will also be speaking at the Festival At Epworth to discuss their powerful work.
New at VegFest this year is poet Gretchen Primack – writer, editor, teacher, and passionate animal advocate. Her book of animal poetry, Kind, is described by reviewer Ashlee Piper as “the sort of art that changes people.” Gretchen also co-authored the memoir The Lucky Ones: My Passionate Fight for Farm Animals (Penguin Avery, 2012) with Jenny Brown.  Gretchen Primack is coming to VegFest from New York’s Hudson River Valley.
Rehoboth Beach VegFest is presented by VegRehoboth.  Organizers extend special thanks to Event Sponsors CAMP Rehoboth, Hobos Restaurant, and VegFund.  Details and the full list of sponsors are at www.RehobothVegFest.org.