Health and Fitness EXPOs & Tradeshow News
Vegans, Vegetarians Use
Borough for 25th Anniversary Expo
The Vegetarian Society of
South Jersey's 25th Anniversary and International Food
Festival catered to Collingswood's taste buds
Sunday—minus the meat.
Held at Collingswood Community Center, the gathering of
local vegans and vegetarians had the borough swirling in
appetizers donated by Marlton-based Whole Foods, and a
gourmet buffet vegan dinner from Miss Rachel’s Pantry, a
vegan catering company based in Philadelphia.
In addition to food, Sunday's activities included a
silent auction, bucket auction, vendor displays and live
music by Scoville Blues and Reid Alburger.
A roster of speakers relevant to the society’s mission—of
educating the public on the benefits of
vegetarianism—added their own flairs to the expo.
Cherron Perry-Thomas, renowned vegan and co-founder of
the Dandelion Bunch, presented a raw food demonstration.
Michael Gregor, director of public health and animal
agriculture for the Humane Society of the United States,
headlined the evening, with a speech and nutrition
Vendors at the event included Dr. Donna Skerry, a
nutritionist who practices in Philadelphia and nearby
Westmont. Skerry offered guests information about ADD and
ADHD prevention, as well as its ties to nutrition and
“We could prevent a lot of diseases with nutrition
changes,” said Skerry.
Sunday’s took an entire year to organize, according to
Lorraine Bal, membership and event coordinator for
Vegetarian Society of South Jersey (VSSJ).
“Knowing the 25th anniversary was coming, a group of
officers starting talking about what we’d like to do,
looking for a venue and doing the planning,” said Bal of
And the event drew a multitude of vegan and vegetarian
Among them was 25-year vegetarian and VSSJ President
Janet Erickson, who recognized a need for unity amongst
her like-minded friends and fellow vegetarians.
“I figured we needed to have support for what we were
doing,” said Erickson of VSSJ, which began meeting in a
church, and later took out a newspaper ad prompting
vegetarians to gather for an inaugural potluck dinner.
Today, the group still holds monthly potlucks, movie
nights, restaurant outings and picnics.
“It’s nice to have events for people to come together and
share in (the experience)," said Erickson.
Freya Dinshah, editor of American Vegan and president of
the American Vegan Society, is a 25-year VSSJ member.
“It is a very good organization for people to find
community, which is important when you’re trying to be a
vegetarian, especially if you’re on your own in your
family or group of friends,” said Dinshah.
For VSSJ members like Jeff Goodfellow—who's been
traveling from Pennsylvania to attend VSSJ events for
eight years—Sunday’s expo was a great way to celebrate
the organization’s importance.
“We should have events like this every year,” said
Goodfellow. “(After all), vegetarianism and veganism are