‘A dream come true’: Attendees praise boro’s first food fest for black vegans, vegetarians

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Photo gallery

Newbie and veteran: Friends Pulizia Cingo, left, and Mahasin McIntosh, right, enjoyed some new foods at the event.
The green advocate: Borough President Eric Adams spoke about veganism and vegetarianism.
Some music: Crowds gather around a steelpan musician playing tunes on the Trinidadian instrument.
Sampling the goods: Guru Singh offers festival-goers some pastry samples.

Black vegans and vegetarians from around the borough brought their appetites to Bedford-Stuyvesant on Saturday for a new plant-based food festival that some herbivores couldn’t wait to sink their teeth into.

“It was a dream come true,” said Mahasin McIntosh, who lives in Fort Greene. “I’ve been a vegetarian for 30 years, and have spent years petitioning more souls to become vegetarians, so it made me happy to see something like this.”

Organizers of the inaugural “Black Vegfest” took over Herkimer Street between Ralph and Howard avenues, where more than a dozen vendors promoting no-meat lifestyles peddled their goods and good-for-you habits at the bash, which was co-presented by Borough President Adams — a staunch proponent of veganism since he adopted the diet after revealing his type-2 diabetes diagnosis in 2016.

McIntosh hit the food fair with a friend after learning about it at a get-together for local vegans and vegetarians hosted by the beep, and said she nibbled the day away tasting raw food and meatless cuisine that included hemp burgers and sides of seaweed and spinach.

And the pals weren’t the only ones who chowed down — the seven-hour event attracted a bustling crowd that one entrepreneur said kept her and her tiny trainee busy till closing time.

“People really came out, and we had a lot of fun once we got the hang of it,” said baker Akua Joy, who sold her Super Mini Vegan Muffins pastries with help from her 3-year-old girl. “They were excited to try out muffins, and my daughter operated our cash register — everyone loved her.”

Joy, her tot, and her husband Guru Singh also spent the day chatting with attendees about their family’s decision to take up veganism a year ago, a change she believes more black Brooklynites will be willing to make as the Vegfest and other health-advocacy events in their community take root in the borough.

“I feel like there should be more of this, and I’m glad they brought it here because we definitely needed this bad,” she said. “Not enough in the community want to leave dangerous foods behind, so a lot of us are continuing a culture of habit. But if we start sharing the information with events like this, people will absorb it.”

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at
Posted 12:00 am, August 15, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Bruce Wandall from Park Slope says:
This is very important because black people apparently need seperate, but equal places for themselves?
Aug. 15, 2018, 3:11 am
Wilbur D. Horse from Paparoneck says:
Suppose there was a WHITE Vegan Food Fest?!
Aug. 15, 2018, 5:42 am
BunnyNSunny from Clinton Hill says:
I like the idea of segregation going on here.
Aug. 15, 2018, 9:39 am
Not a Dumbass from Clinton Hill says:
Y'all, it wasn't "blacks only"—it was open to the public aka anyone. Please check your BS.
Aug. 15, 2018, 1:20 pm
Whites from bk have some nerve says:
Too many bidgots in brooklyn. GTFO!
Aug. 15, 2018, 4:56 pm
Vegetarian Segregation from Flatbush says:
The article makes a point to state Black Vegan/Vegetarians came from across the Borough & how it was specifically called a Black Food Fest. Vegans & vegetarians already have hard time from non-vegetarians & restaurants, now even within our own food choice group segregation is promoted? Progress? Typical of Adams.
Aug. 15, 2018, 8:54 pm
Empathetic to the Concerns from Prospect Heights says:
After reading the comments I can understand why people of other races might be offended by the way this article reads. With that being said, I do not think the intent was or is to segregate. Unfortunately, for decades Black people on the whole eating habits have not been the best and we are finally to a point where there are some of us who have taken up the torch to seek information, eat better and get healthy. Just like many other ethnic groups Black people have pallets that prefer food that is prepared to taste a certain way and the misconceptions that vegan food cannot taste good has deterred many from even trying. I believe the "Black Vegan Festival" was an attempt to undo the myths of vegan food being bland and attract more Black people who may not be as adventurous to new things to give it a shot. Please do not take offense people of other races. The point is not to exclude but rather to draw more Black people to vegan food. This festival was and will continue to be inclusive just as Itallian food festivals, Greek food festivals etc always have been.

Thank you and have a great week!
Aug. 20, 2018, 6:29 pm
Crank Dennehy from Bushwick says:
White people complaining here need to STFU ya bunch of clowns. No one cares about your whining here and you sound dumb and real ingonirant. This event was amazing and much needed. This white boy cant wait to bring my baby to next years.
Aug. 31, 2018, 11:17 am

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