Vegetarian Vision, an organization that was founded in 1992, and is planning the International Vegetarian Convention scheduled to be held Sept. 9 and 10, held a kick-off event July 14, at the Indian Consulate in New York City, to brief media and other stakeholders on the ongoing plans. The Convention will be held at Penn Plaza opposite Penn Station, in the heart of Manhattan.
A lamp-lighting ceremony was held at the kick-off. The chairman and founder of Vegetarian Vision, H. K. Shah gave the history of the organization and its vision of the future.
Among the numerous media that attended the kickoff were mainstream publications like Village Voice, Manhattan Digest, Broadway World, Times Square Chronicles, Nation’s Restaurant News, Veg News, and Bella Magazine.
Chandra Mehta, the president of Vegetarian Vision, spoke of the benefits of plant-based diets on human health and the effects on the global environment and global warming. She appealed to the community to attend the convention to make it a success.
“We are expecting several speakers, holding yoga and meditation sessions, a children’s program and entertainment,” H.K. Shah told Desi Talk. Twenty five vegan doctors are expected to attend, he said. “This is an international event and attracts everyone from Koreans and Chinese to Jewish people and Italians,” Shah said.
Nitin Vyas, the event coordinator for the Convention, said more than 70 vendors are expected to set up stalls at the Convention.
The International Vegetarian Convention takes on added importance for organizers as it is the 25th anniversary of The Vegetarian Vision which was established in New York City and today, has its office in Hoboken, N.J.
The Vegetarian Vision was formed to spread the word about the benefits of the vegetarian diet and serve as a resource network and a think-tank for vegetarians worldwide. “Through a dedicated committee of volunteer members the organization serves all existing and aspiring vegetarians and vegetarian associations. It is a non-partisan, apolitical group that serves anyone regardless of race, color or national origin,” according to its Facebook site.
From just 40 members at the time it was founded, Vegetarian Vision now has grown to more than 1,000 members, many patrons, and hundreds of life-members. It is particularly active in the tri-state area. It’s first major event was held in 1996, the International Vegetarian Food Festival, which took place at the Coliseum in New York City, attended by close to 17,000 people. In 1998, a similar Food Festival was held at New York Armory with repeat performance. Similar events were organized utilizing speakers, exhibits and Vegetarian Cruises.
Shah said he expects around 25,000 people will make their way to this year’s event.