Newly released film The Marshall Plan tells the story of how vegan mayor Ed Smith III successfully promoted his vegan lifestyle to the residents of Marshall, TX—a town in what he says is referred to as “the stroke belt.” The five-term mayor went vegan in 2008 after a prostate cancer diagnosis and has been actively promoting the curative lifestyle to the residents of Marshall through the “Get Healthy Marshall” campaign, community potlucks, and events with educational lectures by vegan celebrities such as ultra-marathoner Scott Jurek and cookbook author Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. Switzerland-based filmmakers Caroline Hoffman and Roland Boeni took interest in telling Smith’s story in an effort to spotlight how the meat and dairy industry makes Americans sick and how one town is using veganism to fight disease. The Marshall Plan features interviews with athletes Rich Roll and Tim Shief, famed activist Gene Baur, vegan doctors Neal Barnard and Joel Kahn, and more. Smith and wife Amanda are revered in Marshall for helping improve the quality of life for many of the town’s 24,000 residents and says, “Hopefully in 10 years, people will look at the meat and dairy industry the same way they look at the tobacco industry today.”
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