Vegan in NJ: New Jersey VegFest returns to the Meadowlands

by Alex Biese, Asbury Park Press

This is a great year to be vegan in New Jersey.

As more and more Garden State residents have become curious about, and potentially embrace, the plant-based lifestyle, countless classically Jersey eateries — from Stewart’s Root Beer locations to classic bagel spots — have begun offering vegan options.

And concurrently, some globally notable New Jersey stars have taken the vegan path.

Highlands native filmmaker Kevin Smith went vegan at the urging of his daughter, Harley, after suffering a massive heart attack in February.

“Thankfully I became vegan in an era where the stuff they offer, the fake meats, are incredible,” Smith told the Asbury Park Press and USA Today Network this summer. “The Beyond Burger is amazing and it makes you think you’re eating the real thing. … If I had to go vegan like 10 years ago, I wouldn’t have lasted.”

Cory Booker, the Democratic U.S. Senator from New Jersey, visited June’s vegan pop-up shop at Convention Hall on the Asbury Park Boardwalk.

“It’s great to see the vegan community grow in our state, more and more vegan establishments opening from vegan clothing to vegan food, vegan restaurants, bakeries,” Booker told the Asbury Park Press at the event. “And it’s just a wonderful consciousness that’s growing in our state, (with) people being aware that there are food alternatives that are better for the environment, food alternatives that you can mix into your normal diet that really make a difference on planet Earth. So I’m excited, just the energy of everybody here empowers my heart and inspires me.”

The New Jersey vegan movement, which also included the inaugural Atlantic City Vegan Food Festival in July, continues this weekend as the New Jersey VegFest returns to the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus Saturday, Oct. 6, and Sunday, Oct. 7.

Dr. Joel Kahn, author of “The Plant-Based Solution,” and vegan athlete and feminist philosopher Tracy Isaacs are among Saturday’s speakers, while the weekend will also feature panel discussions, cooking demonstrations and more.

Vendors will include the acclaimed Red Bank-based food truck the Cinnamon Snail (Saturday only), Vegan Treats of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, Icarus Brewing from Lakewood and Marty’s V Burger out of Manhattan.

Festivities run 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days at the Meadowlands Exposition Center, 355 Plaza Drive, Secaucus. Passes are $10 for single days and $15 for two days through Friday, Oct. 5. Ticket prices increase to $15 for a single day and $25 for both days on Saturday, Oct. 6.

For tickets and more information, visit

This article was originally published in the Asbury Park Press.

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