Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Veg Fest draws vegetarians and dabblers to Tampa

Visitors browse the booths at the Tampa Bay Veg Fest on Saturday at Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park in Tampa.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

Visitors browse the booths at the Tampa Bay Veg Fest on Saturday at Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park in Tampa.

TAMPA — Raised by butchers, Stacey Bohan has never considered nixing meat from her diet.

Becoming a vegetarian would be out of the question, she said.

But on Saturday, the 27-year-old from Davenport found herself at the third annual Tampa Bay Veg Fest at Cotanchobee Fort Brooke Park.

Why? The answer was sitting next to her.

Dylan Jones, her roommate and best friend, is a vegan.

"He's trying to prove to me that vegan food still tastes good," Bohan said.

As a vegan, Jones consumes no animal products whatsoever. It started out as a health kick four years ago when he decided to avoid meat, poultry and seafood. Then he just took it a step further.

Organizers of the festival, which was presented by Florida Voices for Animals, hoped the event would help persuade more people to change their diet.

"There are so many vegan options out there now," said Dina Athanassie. "Name any food and there is a vegan alternative to it."

But, in America, vegans are still a minority. According to a Gallup poll, about 5 percent of adults consider themselves to be vegetarians. Of those, only about 2 percent identify as vegans. And the numbers haven't changed much during the past decade.

Athanassie thinks there is room for growth, though. "It's 10 times easier to become a vegan today as it was 10 years ago," she said.

For James and Shaina Edwards, that hasn't always been the case. The Valrico couple used to be vegans, but it was difficult. Living about an hour south of Chicago, the couple had trouble finding vegan options in their grocery stores and restaurants. "We slowly went away from it," James Edwards said.

Now, living in Valrico, they hope to transition back into a healthier lifestyle.

"I went vegan and lost a lot of weight," Shaina Edwards said. "Now I've gained some of it back."

At the age of 63, John Burger made the leap from carnivore to vegan for health reasons.

"He said he wanted to see his grandkids," said his wife, Julie Burger.

As the owner of Cool Mo's Coffee, a Carrollwood deli, John Burger serves Cuban sandwiches to his customers and eats tofu crumbles behind the counter.

Attending Saturday's festival with him, his wife said she doesn't know how he does it. "He has much more courage than I," she said, noting her husband's dietary change has opened her eyes to a healthier way of life.

"I eat much less meat now," she said.

But, she's not ready to go all the way.

Shelley Rossetter can be reached at srossetter@tampabay.com or (813) 661-2442.

Veg Fest draws vegetarians and dabblers to Tampa 10/13/12 [Last modified: Saturday, October 13, 2012 11:44pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. NFL commissioner, players' union angrily denounce Trump comments on national anthem

    Bucs

    SOMERSET, N.J. — The National Football League and its players' union on Saturday angrily denounced President Donald Trump for suggesting that owners fire players who kneel during the national …

    President Donald Trump walks off the stage after he speaks at campaign rally in support of Sen. Luther Strange, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, in Huntsville, Ala. [Associated Press]
  2. New earthquake, magnitude 6.1, shakes jittery Mexico

    World

    MEXICO CITY — A strong new earthquake shook Mexico on Saturday, causing new alarm in a country reeling from two still-more-powerful quakes this month that have killed nearly 400 people.

    Locals play pool at a venue in Mexico City's La Condesa neighborhood, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017, four days after the 7.1 earthquake. The upscale Mexico City neighborhood was one of the hardest hit, with more than a half-dozen collapsed buildings in the immediate vicinity. The few Condesa residents who ventured out Friday night said they were anxious for relief from an anguishing week. [Associated Press]
  3. Tests show North Korea earthquake not caused by nuclear test

    World

    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea's weather agency said a magnitude 3.2 earthquake was detected in North Korea on Saturday close to where the country recently conducted a nuclear test, but it assessed the quake as natural.

    People watch a TV news program reporting North Korea's earthquake, at Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017. South Korea's weather agency said an earthquake was detected in North Korea on Saturday around where the country recently conducted a nuclear test, but it assessed the quake as natural. The signs read " The weather agency said a magnitude 3.0 earthquake was detected in North Korea." [Associated Press]
  4. Forecast: Tampa Bay's first fall weekend brings scattered showers

    Weather

    It may officially be fall, but Tampa Bay won't have any cooler temperatures this weekend.

    Tampa Bay's 7 day forecast. [WTSP]
  5. Romano: The choice does not have to be poverty or gentrification

    Local Government

    The memories must be protected. The music and the lore, too.

    The owner of Sylvia's Queen of Soul Food is refusing to give the city information on the restaurant's sales as required by his contract to occupy the city-owned Manhattan Casino. The information is needed to calculate whether the nonprofit Urban Development Solutions, headed by Larry Newsome, owes the city more than the $3,000 monthly base rent.