VegFest Puerto Rico Built Community and Mainstreamed Veganism

Approximately 30 vendors sold cruelty-free foods and products as a way to help the Hurricane Maria-ravaged island.


Vegan festival VegFest Puerto Rico took place between 9am and 6pm April 14 at the El Faro lighthouse in Rincón, a town of approximately 15,000 residents known for its laid-back, eco-friendly culture and popular surf spots. The event was co-created by Frances Gonzalez—owner of Vegan Wines, a club featuring vegan vinos shipped to members every other month—and local vegan-dining event promoters Imperio Vegano, and was the first vegan festival to take place on Puerto Rico’s west coast. Besides the opportunity to enjoy samples and products from approximately 30 vendors and presentations by guest speakers, VegFest Puerto Rico provided a great opportunity for the community to promote something positive after September’s devastating tropical storm. “I was there six days after Hurricane Maria,” Gonzalez—whose parents live on the island—told VegNews, “and have seen it go from looking like a bomb hit us, to seeing the produce come back with more energy, with deeper colors, and with more flavors than before.” 

Theresa Boehl is editor of and author of e-book Vegan in Santo Domingo: A guide to meat-free, dairy-free dining in the Caribbean’s largest city.

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