Paul Shapiro, Vice President of Farm Animal Protection at the Humane Society of the United States, has played an integral role in numerous successful legislative and corporate campaigns to improve the plight of farmed animals. His efforts have helped to enact laws in states across the country, and he’s worked with dozens of companies to improve animal welfare standards. He founded Compassion Over Killing in 1995, and served as its campaigns director until January of 2005. Paul has been interviewed in hundreds of print, broadcast, and online news sources as an authority of farm animal welfare and animal advocacy. He has also published dozens of articles about animal welfare in publications ranging from daily newspapers to academic journals.
Susan Levin, M.S., R.D., C.S.S.D., is director of nutrition education for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting preventive medicine, especially better nutrition, and higher standards in research.
As director of nutrition education for PCRM, Ms. Levin researches and writes about the connection between plant-based diets and a reduced risk of chronic diseases. Through her work, she also addresses the need for nutrition guidelines that reflect PCRM’s Power Plate (fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains).
In addition, Ms. Levin assists in teaching nutrition and health classes to participants in clinical studies exploring the links between diet and various medical conditions. “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.”
Before joining PCRM, Ms. Levin taught English to biomedical English majors at the Peking University Health Science Center in Beijing. Her lectures on nutrition to the school’s professors and students emphasized the healthfulness of the traditional plant-based Chinese diet.
Ms. Levin is also an avid runner and a VegRUN.org coach.
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. Since the 90′s she has created a body of 11 documentary projects shot all over the world that focus on a range of social issues including: animal rights; the right to water movement; HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa; sweatshop labour; corporate-globalization; gender; censorship affecting writers and journalists, and war-affected children.
Jo-Anne McArthur is an award-winning photojournalist and creator of the internationally celebrated documentary project, We Animals. Jo-Anne has been documenting the plight of animals on all seven continents for over ten years. 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.
Gretchen Hanson, executive Chef at Hobos Restaurant, began cooking at an early age—she was just 2 years old when she pushed her parents out of the kitchen. By age 12 Gretchen had her own catering business, and as a young adult, she trained in the classic French cooking techniques. Gretchen 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. We’re excited to include a cooking demo by Gretchen in our schedule of events at the Rehoboth Beach VegFest.
Gretchen Primack is a 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 is also the author of another poetry collection, Doris’ Red Spaces, and her publication credits include The Paris Review, Prairie Schooner, Ploughshares, Field, The Massachusetts Review, and many others, as well as several anthologies, including Best New Poets. Gretchen has been a union organizer and a professor and administrator for a college program in a maximum-security men’s prison. She comes to us from New York’s Hudson Valley.
In 2007, Dr. Ruby Lathon was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and instead of following the route to surgery, Ruby 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.
John Schlimm, named one of the “Vegan Men We Love” by VegNews magazine, is an activist, educator, artist, and international award-winning author of such cookbooks as Grilling Vegan Style and The Tipsy Vegan. The son of a former butcher and meat-processing business owner, John came out on The Ellen DeGeneres Show as a pro-meatless, pro-vegetable loving kind of foodie, expressing the sentiment that “no living being, human or animal, should ever go through this life unloved.” His cookbooks and appearances have been critically acclaimed and heralded by the vegan and mainstream media, including The New York Times. John has a Master’s in Education from Harvard University, and has authored 12 books; the most recent two, written since his transition to vegan, carry this dedication: To All the Animals ~ So you know that you have not passed this way unloved. “John Schlimm served as Master of Ceremonies at the 2013 DC VegFest as part of the East Coast Launch for his newest cookbook, The Cheesy Vegan. The Cheesy Vegan was launched to immediate acclaim last fall, and is already a best-seller. We are honored to have John Schlimm as this year’s Master of Ceremonies at the 2014 Rehoboth Beach VegFest!
A vegetarian for almost 50 years, Deb Griffin is a REALTOR®, and writer, living full time at the Beach. She pens The Local Buzz, a newsletter keeping residents and tourists alike informed on all the latest beach happenings. A graduate from Columbia Union College with a B.S. in Nursing, Deb has worked in obstetrics, nurse recruitment, and office administration. As a little girl taking a family drive through the country, Deb spotted a farm with a mama sow and several piglets. Excitedly, she pointed this out to her mother, who informed her that this was the source of her ham and bacon. Deb never ate another piece of bacon again and gave up all meat at the ripe age of ten. Life on the beach has never been better for Deb. She lives here joyfully with her partner of 15 years, and two rescued Jack Russells.
Heidi Helou is Owner/Trainer at Flex World Fitness, Georgetown, DE, a leading area health and fitness center. She is a Certified Group Fitness Instructor, Certified Personal Trainer, and Certified Spin Instructor. Through Flex World, she’s on a mission to spread fitness and good health to the whole community – from energizing classes to introducing members to healthy, plant-based eating and promoting Meatless Mondays. Heidi lives in Lewes with her physician husband and three daughters, and she’s dedicated to providing healthy, plant-based meals for her family. We’re delighted to have her show us the art of smoothie-making!
Rachel Atcheson is Director of The Humane League’s Philadelphia office, coordinating all work in the Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey areas. The Humane League works to create a more compassionate world for farm animals through education, campaigns, and rescue. 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.
Rachel has been deeply involved in grassroots activism for animals, the environment, women’s rights, prisoners’ rights, and workers’ rights since the age of 16. Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Rachel graduated with a degree in philosophy from Boston University, where she was president of the Boston University Vegetarian Society and the Student Labor Action Project. Rachel is known for her passion. She lives by the motto, “Carpe diem.”
A heart attack turned this retired clergy woman’s life upside down. Now with a Cornell certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition in one hand and THE CHINA STUDY by T. COLIN CAMPBELL, PH.D., in the other, Dorothy Greet’s goal is to educate others about the extraordinary health benefits of Whole Food Plant-Based Eating and the damaging impact of the Western Diet.
Dorothy teaches community classes throughout the Lewes-Rehoboth region, including at the University of Delaware’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. She also writes a regular column on her blog Plant-Based Eating, and for the Cape Gazette. We are delighted that Dorothy is hosting the ‘Vegan Nutrition Tent: Ask a Vegan Nutritionist’ for Rehoboth Beach VegFest!
Michele A. Williams is a leading expert in lifestyle medicine through plant-based nutrition, integrative pharmacy, and aromatic plant medicine.With more than 27 years of experience and an outcomes-based focus, this natural medicine pharmacist’s singular blend of cutting-edge scientific knowledge, health advocacy, and holistic principles has resulted in exceptional health, happiness, and harmony for thousands.
Michele holds a Bachelor of Science in pharmacy, a Master of Business Administration, and is currently pursuing writing her doctoral dissertation for a PhD in public policy and administration with a health policy specialty. She holds certifications from Cornell in Plant Based Nutrition, and is a certified Food For Life Instructor. She is a colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserves and assigned to the Defense Health Headquarters in Falls Church, Va. Michele resides in Lewes, DE and is available to come to your school, church, group, or place of employment to provide plant based nutrition and other health related topics. Please ask! At VegFest, you can talk to Michele in person at the Plant-Based Nutrition Tent.