Boston Veg Food Fest Speakers

Check back for 2024 speaker schedule!

2023 Speakers

Josh Velasquez and Adam HamiltonJosh Velasquez and Adam Hamilton — Winning in the Marketplace: Crafting Exceptional Products, Sustainable Growth, and Community Support

12:00 PM

Media Arts Center

Josh Velasquez and Adam Hamilton are the dynamic duo behind Clean Simple Foods, Inc., currently in the market as Nuttin Ordinary, soon to be Shire’s Premium Plant-Based, where their passion for transforming the food industry shines. As co-founders and key driving forces, they bring a wealth of experience and innovation to the table.

Their talk will dive into the key principles of building a successful food brand, emphasizing the importance of having a remarkable product, robust margins, and a strategic go-to-market plan. They will share personal stories, discuss their product’s unique qualities, and provide insights into their journey so far. Plus, they’ll explain how cultivating a strong community can help their company continue to grow and thrive. Join Josh and Adam for an inspiring discussion on creating a winning food brand and becoming part of a community.

Their journey in building Nuttin Ordinary, now Shire’s, reflects the challenges and triumphs of establishing a food company in today’s ever-evolving landscape. With backgrounds in business, food science, and a keen understanding of market trends, they’ve navigated the complexities of this industry with flair.

Josh and Adam are firm believers that plant-based eating is not just a trend but a movement that’s here to stay. They’re dedicated to creating products that not only meet but exceed the expectations of discerning consumers. Their insights into the plant-based food landscape, coupled with their unwavering commitment to quality and taste, make them compelling speakers on the subject.

When they take the stage, Josh and Adam will delve into what it takes to thrive in the food industry today. They emphasize the rise of Whole Food Vegan and its transformative impact on the way we eat, health of the planet and animals. Their journey from concept to market-ready products is an inspiring story of innovation, dedication, and a commitment to bettering the world through conscious food choices.

Yi Jian posing for a photo at a food marketJian Yi – A Global Approach to Fighting Climate Change: The Past, Present and Future of Veganism in China

1:00 PM

Media Arts Center

Come hear from Jian Yi, one of the speakers from our virtual festival in 2021 – but this time, he’ll be speaking in-person! As an independent filmmaker and food activist, Jian Yi (简艺/簡藝) will be sharing his experience on the front-lines of fighting climate change through food systems transformation in China.

He is a Visiting Fellow with the Animal Law and Policy Program at the Harvard Law School, and was a Gleitsman Leadership Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Center for Public Leadership (2021), a Yale World Fellow (2009), an India-China Fellow (2008), an Asia 21 Young Leader (2010), an Asian Cultural Council grantee (2008), and a Cambridge University visiting fellow (2007). He co-presides the Harvard Behavior Insights Student Group (BISG).

Jian Yi is the founder and president of Good Food Fund, a leading initiative in China’s food systems transformation, whose Mama’s Kitchen project was named one of the ten global Top Visionaries by the Rockefeller Foundation’s 2050 Food Systems Prize. He is a member of the Advisory Board of EAT. In 2021, Jian Yi served on the Core Leadership Team of Action Track 2 of the United Nations Food Systems Summit and led its Work-stream on Food Environments. He founded the China Vegan Society in 2021 and is at the forefront of the nation’s plant-based movement.

Since 2007, Jian Yi’s films have won awards in international film festivals and have been shown across the globe, including at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 2008, he co-founded IFChina, a civic-engagement organization focusing on documenting social memories, and lived in a Buddhist monastery for two full years between 2012 and 2014. He holds an MC/MPA degree from the Harvard Kennedy School (2022), an MA in Journalism from the Communication University of China (1999) and an MA in Peace Studies from the University of Notre Dame (1998), where he earned a Distinguished Alumni Award (2015).

Chef Angela Hofmann holding a carton of strawberriesChef Angela Hofmann (Nüssli118°) – Cooking Demo

2:00 PM

Media Arts Center

Join Angela Hofmann, visionary founder and owner of Nüssli118°, a thriving plant-based dessert company for a cooking demonstration of two of her favorite treats: Cocoa Energy Bites and Squash Parfait. Attendees will have the opportunity to sample these, too! With an unwavering commitment to promoting healthy living through delectable, plant-based treats, Angela has transformed Nüssli118° into a trusted source for nourishing and delicious desserts.

Under Angela’s guidance, Nüssli118° supplies its tantalizing plant-based creations to a diverse range of customers, including specialty food stores, cozy cafes, and personalized gift boxes for individuals, corporations, and institutions. Angela’s mission extends beyond her products; she strives to educate and inspire her customers to embrace a healthier lifestyle. Through product demonstrations and a wealth of information available on the Nüssli118° website, Angela empowers others to make informed dietary choices.

Angela’s dedication to promoting plant-based living has garnered much recognition. Nüssli118° has been featured on popular television programs such as Dining Playbook and Chronicle, as well as in esteemed publications like the Boston Globe and Boston Magazine. These media appearances have played a crucial role in raising awareness about the benefits of a plant-based diet.

Angela’s passion for sustainability and community service has also earned her accolades. Nüssli118° was honored with the Sustainable Small Business Award, a testament to Angela’s commitment to environmentally friendly practices. Furthermore, her contributions to the community were recognized with a prestigious James Beard Award for outstanding community service.

Angela Hofmann’s journey with Nüssli118° continues to be a source of inspiration for those seeking to savor the goodness of a plant-based lifestyle while making a positive impact on the world.

Kristen StiltKristen Stilt – Family Ties: How the Law is Failing Animals and What You Can Do About It

3:00 PM

Media Arts Center

Kristen Stilt is Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and Faculty Director of the Brooks McCormick Jr. Animal Law & Policy Program at Harvard.

The law can be a powerful tool for animal protection advocates, and there have been some important wins for animals over the past year, including in the Supreme Court of the United States. At the same time, the law can be a major roadblock. To overcome these obstacles, we must understand what motivates policy makers, and voters, to pass legislation in the interest of animals. It is now widely accepted that animals are sentient and experience pain, and this is one motivating factor for some lawmakers. But the law completely ignores one very important aspect of the lives of animals: family ties. In this talk, Kristen will focus on relationships in animal families, and farmed animals in particular, showing the deep bonds and arguing that they should not be broken. Everyone can be part of the solution, and through recognizing and respecting the family ties of animals, we can also strengthen our own.

Kristen’s commitment to animals began in a very tangible way: she rescued and adopted two kittens when she lived in Cairo, Egypt as a graduate student. The sibling kittens had been thrown into the trash behind her building when they were just days old. Winnie and Tom, as she named them, were inseparable. Because of her love for Winnie and Tom, Kristen committed herself to improving the situation for cats and dogs and indeed all animals living in Egypt, including farmed animals. This led her to help establish the Society for the Protection of Animal Rights in Egypt along with a group of Egyptians, and then to co- found the Egyptian Society for Mercy to Animals, or ESMA. She has adopted or fostered many cats and two dogs from Egypt since she first met Winnie and Tom. She remains committed to the cause and established a charitable organization in the U.S., Animal Diplomacy, to raise funds for ESMA.

Kristen’s commitment to animals is now global in scope. At Harvard Law School, she teaches classes related to animal law, writes and publishes about animal law, and contributes to ongoing cases through the filing of amicus briefs, such as in the 2022 case of Estrellita the Wooly Monkey in Ecuador and the recent right to rescue trial in Sonoma County, CA. Kristen has a J.D. from The University of Texas at Austin and a Ph.D. in History from Harvard University. She is also the proud mother of three children. They have helped her to appreciate even more deeply the important role of animals in our lives.

Michael Greger — How Not To Age: The Scientific Approach to Getting Healthier as You Get Older

4:00 PM

Media Arts Center

Join us for the launching of Greger’s new book, How Not to Age: The Scientific Approach to Getting Healthier as You Get Older.

Michael Greger, MD, FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, founding member and Fellow of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, and internationally recognized speaker on nutrition, food safety, and public health issues. In 2017, Dr. Greger was honored with the ACLM Lifestyle Medicine Trailblazer Award.

Dr. Greger is a graduate of Cornell University School of Agriculture and Tufts University School of Medicine. He is the founder of, a non-commercial, science-based public service providing free updates on the latest in nutrition research via bite-sized videos. All proceeds from Dr. Greger’s book sales are donated to charity.


Food Fest Speaker Archive
See a complete list of speakers going back to 2005.