2019 Year in Review
Dear Friends of VegMichigan,

Happy New Year and thank you for supporting VegMichigan in 2019! This past year, with your help, we expanded our outreach to cities around the state, doubled the size of our annual VegFest, relocated our annual Free Festival to an ideal spot, and hosted more events than ever before. In this update, we invite you to take a look at some of our many accomplishments throughout 2019. We look forward to even more great work ahead in 2020!
Doubled the Size of VegFest
VegFest 2019 was our biggest and best VegFest ever. We listened to suggestions from previous years and took them to heart, which meant doubling the hall space, widening the aisles, adding more seating, improving the Kids' Zone, and expanding the food court with more free samples. Surveys continue to show that the majority of attendees take steps toward reducing or eliminating animal foods from their diet after experiencing this life-changing event. The lines for VegFest were literally out the door in anticipation of our best lineup of speakers ever, which included Alicia Silverstone, Dr. Michael Greger, and Justin Abdelkader of the Detroit Red Wings, just to name a few. 
A Sense of Community at the 4th annual Free Festival
This year VegMichigan found the perfect new location and date for the annual Free Festival in the heart of downtown Farmington at Riley Park. Attendees enjoyed a huge selection of food vendors plus local restaurants offered vegan specials within a short walking distance of the festival. Feedback on the new location was overwhelmingly positive, so we plan to be back next year! VegMichigan doubled both it's membership and newsletter signups compared to last year’s festival, with new members receiving a gift bag filled with sample items, allowing VegMichigan to reach even more people curious about going plant-based! 
We're On Local TV
VegMichigan helped spread the benefits of a plant-based diet on a number of local news programs throughout the past year. We were featured on the popular Fox 2 Detroit morning show to promote the benefits of plant-based eating in cooking segments prior to VegFest and the Free Festival. And Livonia's local TV station promoted our event with Dr. Kahn and even aired the presentation! These events not only spread the plant-based message on the day of the event, but also attract media attention both before and afterward through TV spots, interviews, and countless newspaper articles. See a sampling below. Look for us in 2020 on both Fox 2 Detroit and WXYZ Channel 7's Meatless Monday segment with Ann Marie LaFlamme!
VegMichigan In the News
Expanded Free Presentations & Vegan Food Tastings
For the first time ever, VegMichigan launched a presentation and vegan food tasting series at libraries around metro Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Lansing, with the goal of introducing attendees to the benefits of eating plant-based. The free programs included a variety of professional speakers; Dr. Joel Kahn, Dr. Robert Breakey, The Farm’s Project Manager at St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, Amanda Sweetman, former University of Michigan football player, Marc Ramirez, and Humane Educator, Kim Korona. All programs are geared to those new to vegan eating and surveys indicated more than 80% of attendees were not already vegan. The food and programs were very well-received with more than 2/3 of attendees indicating they would either move toward a plant-based diet or go vegan entirely. With these programs, VegMichigan has reached nearly 1,000 people and all are sent home with important information, including a list of the restaurants and grocery stores in their areas that offer vegan options as well as recipes and educational handouts on going plant-based. VegMichigan was especially proud to partner with a local Sierra Club chapter as well as the Humane Society of Huron Valley for two of the events with the added goal to reach those who may be compassionate toward the environment or companion animals, but may not think of farm animals when making choices about their food.
Girl Scouts "Takeout Remake" Presentation and Cooking Demo
It was cool to learn about what goes into plant-based diets and reasons why they should be more prevalent... it was fun to see how easy it is to make plant-based foods. I liked how interactive it was. - Jaime, Girl Scout,16 years old

In December, VegMichigan provided a program to the Girl Scouts of Southeast Michigan, a first for us! The program was both interactive and educational with a focus on the environmental benefits of a plant-based diet along with a cooking demo to teach the scouts how to create well-planned, healthy, and delicious vegan meals. During the program, the scouts learned how animal agriculture contributes to water scarcity, land mismanagement, deforestation, a loss of biodiversity, and climate change. The cooking demo taught the scouts how to prepare healthier versions of their favorite takeout dishes. They learned how to make power bowls by mixing and matching healthy grains, vegetables, plant-based proteins, and sauces. The event finished with all of the scouts enjoying a huge vegan feast that they helped to create! VegMichigan looks forward to doing even more youth outreach in 2020.
Diversified Funding Sources
This year, VegMichigan is proud to have begun expanding its funding sources to ensure we can continue to bring our free and low-cost programs to locations around the state. For the first time in the organization's history, VegMichigan was the recipient of two separate grants from VegFund as well as a $25,000 matching gift! National organizations and large funders are recognizing the importance of VegMichigan's work and programs and this funding is helping us expand our free presentation and vegan food tasting program to more locations around the state.
Showcased Delicious Vegan Thanksgiving Foods
This past year, we merged our Fall Fundraiser with our popular Thanksliving event for a Thanksgiving feast hosted at The Old Shillelagh in downtown Detroit. The food was fabulous and the turnout was a huge success! Be sure to join us next year, we'll be offering additional seatings for those who missed out this year and to allow guests to spread out.
Spreading Awareness at Local Events
VegMichigan continued its outreach at area events through tabling, handing out information on going vegan, and answering questions about eating plant-based at events at SASHA Farm, Barn Sanctuary, the AT&T employee health fair in Southfield, Ann Arbor's 4th of July Parade, the East MI VegBash in Shelby Township, the 2019 Walk & Wag and Run in Ypsilanti, and V313 at Eastern Market in Detroit. We also participated in lobbying events to promote animal welfare by hosting a postcard writing potluck and participating in Humane Lobby Day with the Humane Society of the United States, and hosted screenings of new documentaries,
Eating Animals and The Game Changers. And for the first time, VegMichigan gave a talk at the University of Michigan Animal Respect Society's Veg Week, getting the chance to talk to students about the benefits of going vegan to be more compassionate, sustainable, and healthy.
Save the Date: VegFest 2020
VegFest, the biggest annual vegan event in Michigan, is moving to Detroit! After careful consideration and a tour of the TCF Center (formerly Cobo Hall), we were blown away by the state-of-the art renovations, professional space, and beautiful views of the Detroit River and Riverwalk. As a result, VegFest 2020 is moving to The Grand Riverview Ballroom at the TCF Center!

Please note that with the venue change, there is also a date change: VegFest will now be held on  May 17, 2020 . Detroit Pistons legend, John Salley, and Dr. Michael Greger have signed on to speak. Dr. Greger will be signing his new book,  How Not To Diet.  Buy tickets here or become a member to get in free !
VegMichigan is a 501(c)(3), nonprofit organization focused on promoting the health, environmental, and ethical benefits of a vegan diet. We work to educate the public by offering a wide range of activities for learning and socializing.