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The Erie Vegan and Vegetarian Society

Bruce Friedrich is executive director of The Good Food Institute (GFI), a nonprofit organization that promotes plant and culture-based alternatives to animal agriculture.

He is also the founding partner of New Crop Capital (NCC), a venture capital fund that provides angel, seed, and Series A funding to companies that are producing plant-based and cultured alternatives to meat, dairy, and eggs, as well to tech startups that are focused on promoting alternatives to animal agriculture.  GFI and NCC are creating a healthy, humane, and sustainable food supply.

Having been the director of policy and advocacy of the Farm Sanctuary and vice president, international grassroots campaigns of PETA, Bruce has appeared on The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News, and a variety of programs on MSNBC, Fox News, and CNN.

He is a popular speaker on college campuses and has presented repeatedly at most of the nation's top universities, including Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Stanford, and MIT.

Bruce's articles appear regularly in the Huffington Post, and he has penned opinion pieces for USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, and many other publications. 

Bruce co-authored one book, contributed to four more, and has written six law review articles.

We are looking forward to hearing what Bruce has to say about the future of protein!

 Dr. Richard Oppenlander is a sustainability consultant, researcher, and author whose award-winning book, "Comfortably Unaware" has been endorsed as a must-read by Ellen DeGeneres and Dr. Jane Goodall among others. Dr. Oppenlander's most recent book titled, “Food Choice and Sustainability”, has won numerous awards including the 2014 International Book Award and the 2014 Green Book Festival Award and is being used by think tanks and strategists for developing initiatives to advance change.


Dr. Oppenlander is a much sought after international lecturer on the topic of food choice and how it relates to sustainability, speaking most recently to the European Parliament, and served as the lead consultant for two full-length environmental documentary films. He also serves as an advisor to world hunger projects in developing countries and with municipalities in the U.S.


Dr. Oppenlander has spent the past 40 years studying the effects food choices have on our planet and on us. He started an organic plant based food production company, operates an animal rescue sanctuary (with his wife Jill), and is the founder and president of the non-profit organization, Inspire Awareness Now.


Visit the Comfortably Unaware website for more information.

Derek Tresize and Marcella Torres

​Main Stage: 11:00am – 12:00pm 

Speakers for Erie VegFest 2016

Victoria Moran of Main Street Vegan is a vegan of three decades and an obesity survivor. Listed by VegNews magazine among the Top 10 Living Vegetarian Authors, Victoria has written twelve books, including Main Street Vegan, Creating a Charmed Life, and her latest work, The Good Karma Diet. Her fans range from Bill Clinton to Ellen Degeneres, and she was featured twice on Oprah. Moran hosts the award-winning Main Street Vegan podcast, and directs Main Street Vegan Academy, an in-person program in NYC to train vegan lifestyle coaches. She is a co-writer of Miss Liberty, a feature film in pre-production about a cow who escapes from a slaughterhouse.

Dr. Richard A Oppenlander

Main Stage: 1:00pm – 2:15pm

Bruce Friedrich

Main Stage: 4:00pm – 5:00pm


Derek Tresize and Marcella Torres are the husband and wife team of competitive bodybuilders behind Vegan Muscle and Fitness, where they have shared their training and nutrition tips, recipes and more since 2009. Owners of Richmond, Virginia's only plant-based personal training studio, Root Force Personal Training, the pair seeks to promote a fit and active plant-powered lifestyle and shatter the perception that strength and athleticism can't be achieved with a plant-based diet.

Derek is a three-time natural bodybuilding champion and WNBF pro bodybuilder. He is also an A.C.E. Certified Personal Trainer, is certified in Plant-Based Nutrition, and holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology. Marcella is a professional meal planner, dancer, and PhD student in mathematical biology. Together they have raised two thriving vegan children. Their mission: to generate as many fit vegan role models as possible to get the message across that a plant-based diet isn't a handicap in the world of athletics - it's an advantage!

Victoria Moran

Main Stage: 2:30pm – 3:30pm