Speakers

Engage with knowledgeable speakers, presenting on topics of health, compassion, and environmental regeneration.

Scroll down to view the speaker schedule. 

Thank you to Royce Ashcroft and Imari Spigner with Noor XVII for hosting the 2nd annual Sarasota Veg Fest. Thank you to Naomi Green and David Mannino of Going Vegan for Health for being our moderators!

 
Royce Ashcroft & Imari Spigner–MEET YOUR HOSTS!

Royce Ashcroft and Imari Spigner are one of Florida’s hottest and most active vegan couples! Royce (vegan since January 2016) and Imari (vegan since April 2017) met one other at an open mic show that Royce was the host of in April 2017 and the couple are now engaged! Together they have started Noor XVII, which is a vegan modeling & talent network. The fundamental purpose behind the network is to make being vegan more mainstream. Noor XVII hosts a wide range of events such as social mixers, fashion shows, public speaking workshops, and the list goes on and on. Royce started off with his own indie gameshow called “The Reel Royce Show” and has been booking gigs ever since. At a point in his career, Royce was hosting the dinner shows for BB Kings every night and with that consistency is where he feels he made the most progress. In 2018, Royce launched a Vegan talk show called, “Royce Airs”, where he interviews different vegans who have amazing things going on all over the world! Royce and Imari are professional emcees and have hosted large vegan festivals all across Florida. 

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10:25 a.m. VeganEvan, VeganEvan’s Mission “Climate Change with Diet Change” (Speaker Building)

VeganEvan is a passionate and talented young animal advocate committed to creating a healthy, compassionate, and regenerative world through his amazing work as co-president of Animal Hero Kids and spokesperson for Solutionary Species, as well as through his own personal ideas and strategies for animal activism. Animal Hero Kids is an all volunteer organization with a mission to empower children to be teachers and advocates for a solutionary lifestyle. VeganEvan has inspired many through his powerful speeches and knowledge. At only 8 years old, Evan is in the process of starting up his own non-profit organization, called VeganEvan’s Mission with the intent of informing public schools to take animals off the school lunch menus! VeganEvan has spoken in front of large audiences at numerous major events throughout the country. He has been awarded the Russell Simmons Creative Animal Hero Kids Award, Shining World Leadership Award for Compassion on Supreme Master TV, and in 2016, he earned PETA’s Cutest Vegan Kid award.

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10:30 a.m. Erik Milo Paine, Pura Verde “What are Microgreens?: An explanation and conversation of What microgreens are and what they mean for you (& the planet)” (Education Station)

Milo is a native to Sarasota Florida and owner of Pura Verde, LLC which specializes in a wide variety of living microgreens. While spending most of his career in operations for corporations big and small, a life-changing trip to Costa Rica led to the founding of Pura Verde, LLC in 2018 that set him on a path that led to embracing microgreens and all that they are capable of. A play on Costa Rica’s “Pura Vida” that translates to “simple life” or “pure life” which is an inherent part of Costa Rican culture that they embody as an attitude, an emotion, and a way of living. Milo has since taken a more simplistic and relaxed way of looking at things while focusing on doing something better for people and the environment through growing microgreens and educating on them. Though only starting to grow microgreens in 2018, Milo’s life has become completely immersed in all that microgreens are. He has set out to grow with a focus of minimal impact to provide a sustainable crop for individuals and local restaurants. Milo continues to share his passion for microgreens by educating on their benefits, culinary impact, diet, and their many uses.

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11:00 a.m. Dr. Joanne Kong, University of Richmond “The Future of Food: Sustainable and Compassionate” (Speaker Building)

Dr. Joanne Kong has been praised throughout the country as one of the most compelling advocates for plant-sourced nutrition today, raising ethical awareness that greater compassion for animals and our planet are vitally necessary for transformative growth and positive world change. Her highly-praised TEDx talk on veganism, “The Power of Plant-Based Eating,” currently at over 430,000 views, is placed on numerous websites internationally including Unbound Project, “a multimedia and book project that celebrates the inspiring women who have been at the forefront of animal advocacy around the globe.” For Earth Day 2017, she was interviewed on the radio program Vegan Nation, and her new book is titled “If You’ve Ever Loved An Animal, Go Vegan.” International travels in 2018 took her to Norway, and India for a 3-week, 10-city speaking tour to promote the benefits of a vegan lifestyle. Dr. Kong was recently included by Dr. Michael Klaper in his newsletter article, “People Who Give Me Hope,” and she will appear in two upcoming documentaries in 2019: “Taking Note”, and the major documentary “Eating Our Way to Extinction,” to be narrated by Kate Winslet.

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11:30 a.m. Daniel Bisonnette “GENIUS Mode–that Biology of Greatness” (Education Station)

14-year old Daniel Bissonnette is recognized as one of the world’s top 100 most influential vegans. He is also one of the most in demand health/nutrition youth keynote speakers in the world, an award-winning activist and best-selling author. As someone who started out as a bullied elementary school boy who wanted to help kids eat healthier, Daniel has embraced a journey of learning far beyond his classroom walls… Since the age of 9, after giving a viral talk, Daniel was invited to speak at leading health events across Canada, the US and the UK. By 11, he became a signature speaker with the largest health show franchise in Canada and published his best selling book, “Daniel’s BREAKFAST Burst,” which quickly became a hit and was featured in popular magazines, radio, TV, was purchased by celebrities, and helped more kids around the globe eat a healthier breakfast than any other book! By 12, he was ranked in the world’s top 100 most influential vegans and joined the non-profit organization, Borneo Wildlife Preservation, to help with reforestation and pygmy elephant rehabilitation. At 13, he was named one of the “15 most influential vegans of all time” and honored with the Shining World Leadership Award for Compassion by Supreme Master Ching Hai. In his recent work “Genius Mode – the Biology of Greatness”, Daniel shares breakthrough science on a never before discussed topic–the altering of our DNA to genius. “Genius is something you CAN Become because it’s a built-In mechanism and there’s an exact science to doing so!” 

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12:00 p.m. Thomas Wade Jackson, The Compassion Project “My Prayer for Compassion” (Speaker Building)

Thomas is an award-winning filmmaker, photographer and musician. He received his Masters from Florida State University’s prestigious College of Motion Picture Arts, where his thesis film, Slow Dancin’ Down the Aisles of the QuickCheck won both the Student Academy Award and the Student Emmy Award, as well as 20 other awards and honors. The film’s screenplay, and an interview with Thomas, are included in the fourth edition of the book, Crafting Short Screenplays That Connect, published by Focal Press. Thomas has lived and worked in New York, Nashville and LA, and currently resides in North Florida. He began his vegan journey in 2005 while living in Manhattan. It wasn’t until after the birth of his daughter in 2012, however, that he became “activated,” and found his passion and purpose in helping to create a more compassionate, peaceful world to leave his daughter and the children of all earthlings, no matter their species.

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12:30 p.m. Ebony McCormick, Healthy Dining App “Vegan Networking Made Easy” (Education Station)

Ebony is from Jacksonville, FL. She matriculated to Clark Atlanta University to study accounting in the fall of 2007 and has been there since. Ebony is a single mother of a 10 year old athlete who motivates her daily. She stepped into a healthier lifestyle in 2017, after participating in a seven day vegan challenge. In those seven days, Ebony recognized a change in her energy. Though enjoying the vegan lifestyle, some of the obstacles she initially faced were finding local vegan/vegetarian restaurants, and individuals with similar dining preferences. And thus sparked the idea to create an app that could locate healthier dining options in local communities, as well as provide a platform where individuals with similar dining preferences could communicate. Ebony launched the Healthy Dining App in July of 2018. Healthy Dining is a mobile app that allows individuals who are vegan, vegetarian, and or individuals who are interested in embarking a healthier lifestyle connect for dining and networking purposes. Healthy Dining can be used worldwide, making it a great app for travelers. Whether you want to find a local spot or dine with a fellow vegan, this app is for you!

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1:00 p.m. Food As Medicine Physician Panel: “Medical Evidence for Preventing and Reversing Chronic Disease One Bite at a Time” (Speaker Building)

We’ve put together a group of Tampa-area physicians to help us all understand the role of nutrition in their chronic disease specialties and how you can prevent and reverse that one bite at a time with a whole food plant based lifestyle. These plant-based physicians are part of the Plant Based Nutrition Movement (PBNM.org), a combined effort of healthcare providers and community leaders to promote lifestyle changes to improve the health of America fighting the current epidemic of chronic disease with whole food plant based nutrition. This panel will be moderated by Naomi Green, Certified Vegan Lifestyle Coach & Educator, who specializes in helping people adopt a whole food plant-based no oil lifestyle for serious health gains and serious weight loss…deliciously and permanently. CARDIOLOGIST: Jaimela Dulaney, MD ENDOCRINOLOGIST: Soham Patel, MD PEDIATRICIAN: Jeffrey Hirschfield, MD RADIATION ONCOLOGIST: Amber Orman, MD PHARMACIST: Evelisse Capó, PharmD

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1:30 p.m. Sean Patton, Stocking Savvy “Native Edible Plants and Habitat Restoration” (Education Station)

Sean is a graduate of New College of Florida, where he studied Marine Biology and Ecology. After graduating, he became an aquatic biologist working in the swamps, lakes, and other bodies of water found in Sarasota and Manatee Counties. Sean is a SCUBA diver and works tirelessly with many environmental groups in Sarasota. During his time as a private company biologist, he found that many of the precious wetlands, ponds, and lakes that characterize Florida ecosystems were in a terrible state. Trash, invasive plants, Red Tide, and climate change have drowned out the native flora and fauna that are typically present in these areas. Inspired to restore these ecosystems, he began researching alternatives means of controlling and removing invasive plant species and restoring native species to their natural habitats. Thus, Stocking Savvy was born. Now he uses biological systems, native plant species, harvesting, and a coalition of green businesses to restore habitat across our state. Every backyard can be habitat, every pond a paradise, and if you want to know how, you want to know Sean at Stocking Savvy.

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2:30 p.m. Health Turnaround: “Patient Success Stories Panel” (Speaker Building)

This panel will feature 5 patients who have adopted a whole food plant-based diet and turned their health around from different chronic diseases, gotten off medications and continue to experience optimal health and loving it! This panel will give you the inspiration you need to know you can do this for yourself! There will be a surprise disease-fighting whole food plant-based snack for those staying for both panels!

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4:00 p.m. Grey, Plant Based Drippin “Promoting a Plant Based Lifestyle through Music and Fashion” (Speaker Building)

Grey is one of the hottest emerging artists at the intersection between activism, urban style & hip hop. A growing Atlanta institution in his own right, Grey became one of the most talked about acts of 2016 after his Vegan Thanksgiving freestyle & music video took the internet by storm. His superb, cerebral and soulful flow ensured that his message went global, earning him nods from Russel Simmons, DL Hughley, Ellie Goulding, Unilad, Worldstar, and Baller Alert. Notching a total of 30+ million views, he was catapulted from local stardom to the global stage. Even PETA and Whole Foods supported his release, proving the cross-marketability of Grey and his message. His music and clothing line, Plant Based Drippin, is creating a new energy in the vegan community. A lyricist, activist, and social entrepreneur, Grey is nothing short of refreshing. With a clear, understandable, and sophisticated flow, Grey is an artist to watch in 2019. He, like vegan cooking, just might surprise you.

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Naomi Green, Going Vegan for Health Moderator of Health Panels (Speaker Building)

Naomi Green is a Certified Vegan Lifestyle Coach & Educator who is also certified in plant-based nutrition from the eCornell T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies. Naomi specializes in helping people go vegan and take back their health (or just add more veggies to their diet!) She has been coaching private clients and running a free online Facebook support group for those going vegan and presenting cooking workshops, cooking parties and corporate wellness program events around the Tampa Bay Area since recovering from breast cancer treatment in 2014 and she credits both yoga and going vegan with her health, healing and happiness.

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3:30 p.m. A Prayer for Compassion Film Screening (Education Station)
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