2019 Speakers


Dustin Harder

Dustin Harder is the host and creator of the original vegan travel culinary series The Vegan Roadie. When not traveling, he works as a personal chef, recipe developer, and culinary instructor in New York City. As a graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute, Dustin has been featured in such publications as Eating Well, VegNews, Vegan Lifestyle Magazine, and Paste Magazine. His second book, Epic Vegan, will be released July 2, 2019. Epic Vegan is the follow-up to Dustin's first book, The Simply Vegan Cookbook.


Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @TheVeganRoadie

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Robert Grillo

1:30pm - 2:30pm

The Top Planet-Saving, Life-Saving, and Socially-Responsible Reasons for a Vegan Diet.

Click here for a video of the talk.

We feed about half of the world’s edible grain crop to farm animals. A chicken bred for egg laying lays her entire body weight in eggs every 24 to 30 days. Farmed animals occupy 45% of the surface area of the earth. A chicken breast comes from a 6-week-old infant-age bird. The Adventist Health Studies (one of the most comprehensive studies of its kind) indicate vegans have the lowest rates of metabolic syndrome and all the chronic diseases associated with it. By going vegan, America could feed an additional 390 million people. These are just some of the stunning revelations in this presentation that highlights the most compelling ethical, environmental, health reasons for embracing a plant-based diet, not to mention that the United Nations is openly advocating it as well!

Robert Grillo is an activist, author and speaker for all species. He is also the founder and director of Free from Harm, a  non profit dedicated to helping end animal exploitation. As a communications professional for over 20 years, Grillo once worked on large food industry accounts where he acquired a behind-the-scenes perspective on food branding and marketing. His recent book, Farm to Fable: The Fictions of Our Animal-Consuming Culture explores the powerful narratives driving our culture of mass animal consumption.

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Callee Ackland

2:30pm - 3:30pm

How To Reduce Your Trash + Your Impact On The Planet

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Callee Ackland is a zero waste activist on a mission to protect the planet by helping you reduce your trash + your environmental impact. At age 23, while still on active-duty in the US Navy, she founded Bestowed Essentials – a wholesale distributor, online marketplace, and retail store in Rapid City, South Dakota, selling ethical + eco-friendly home goods. Callee also hosts the popular Hippie Haven Podcast, a free weekly resource on sustainable living. She travels the country in a self-converted campervan - hosting zero waste workshops, trash cleanups, and speaking at events such as the Madison VeganFest!

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Amanda Fanning

3:30pm - 4:30pm

Living Lavender

Click here for a promo of the food demo.

Amanda Fanning holds multiple certifications which include; Computer Science, Sustainable Management, Sustainable Design & Architecture, TNS Protocol.

Her chosen life choice is now a certified Plant-Based Nutritionist and Living Food Teacher/ Chef. Amanda has taught classes at UW Madison’s Gaylord Nelson Institute, Willy Street Co-op and Crossroads Café in Black Earth, WI. Her focus is the realm of healing through living energy via foods. She believes that the quantum nature of our biological systems is completely in tuned to the living-healing energies of plant -based foods. Phyto-micronutrients are catalysts that our bodies need to break down and utilize macro nutrients for information, gearing toward our genetic expression or how our genes are influenced by what energy (Joule) we input.

She is an active member of PETA, ASPCA and other various activist groups who focus on the rights to life – rights to nature. She believes all living things are not just resources for human consumption rather, all parts of a whole, viable living organism. This symbiosis supports the vast physical and non-physical universe.

“Proving the ground with grace and compassion” is her methodology. Amanda has counseled and helped many people heal through dietary lifestyle changes. Currently, her focus is Raw Kurious Kafe, a place of introduction experiencing extremely palatable gourmet food that’s not only 5 Star, it also heals the body and reduces overall carbon footprint. As a nutritional coach, she offers strategies to gain superior health while eliminating the overall usage of imperialist, synthetic means.


Aaron J. Yarmel

11:00am - 12:00pm

Let’s Talk! Tips for Successful Vegan Conversations

Click here for a video of the talk.

As vegans, we often find ourselves talking to people who disagree with us about highly-charged, controversial issues. When these conversations go well, they are opportunities for people to reflect deeply on their values, feel less alienated from one another, and take positive steps towards realizing a vegan world. When they do not go well--and they often don’t--the result is often further polarization, frustration, and alienation. 

As a philosophy lecturer, dialogue facilitator, and interviewer, I am constantly testing and refining techniques for having better conversations about some of the most controversial issues in existence. In this interactive presentation, I will distill the most important lessons I’ve learned from these experiences and offer them to you in an easy-to-use framework that you can apply right away. You will walk away with practical techniques that have helped me, and others who have attended my workshops in the past, engage in better conversations in your activism, at home, at work, and anywhere else. 

Aaron Yarmel is currently writing a dissertation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison about the ethics of disruptive protest in schools. His research interests span political philosophy, philosophy of education, applied ethics, and normative ethics. He is also the Director of Madison Public Philosophy, which shares philosophy with the Madison community through public performances and Philosophy for Children programs. Most recently, he began an interview project, called, “Aaron’s Interviews,” through which he publishes one, in-depth interview every week. He holds an MA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, an MSc from the London School of Economics, and a BM from the Eastman School of Music. For more information: www.aaronyarmel.com.