2019 Charlotte Vegfest Speakers and Chef Demos Schedule

Speaker Schedule

Every fighter knows the mark of a champion is not how many fights he wins, but how many times he rises to fight again. 
Justin understands the power of a transformational journey, having ventured on one himself. Almost ten years ago, he found himself on the path to becoming just another statistic in the criminal justice system. Instead of falling prey to the endless revolving door of a violent system, Justin transformed himself into a father, a coach, and a valued member of his community. 
Justin sincerely cares about helping others follow him in their transformational journeys, to grow into being the best versions of themselves. He seeks out those who have become stuck in the slums of their mind and are ready to climb up to success they never before imagined. He seeks out those prepared to take control of their minds and evolve into an empowered decision-maker. 

When not guiding his clients on their journey’s to success, Justin enjoys spending time with his daughter, boxing, and indulging in self-care like float therapy.

Featuring Shami Hariharan MD, Jessica McCarton RD, Dr. Cowan, Shonda Caines, Katya Gorbacheva. Moderated by Steven Cuzmusco

” If you check any hospital in the world, they are not full of people who only eat fruits and veggies.”
~John “Bad Ass Vegan” Lewis
•International public speaker
•Serial entrepreneur
•Wellness advocate
•Activist for the wellness of all living beings
•Film producer/director of “Hungry for Justice”
Instagram/Twitter: @badassvegan

Erin Fergus is the associate department head of health and fitness science at Wake Tech Community College in Raleigh. After being vegetarian for 12 years and spending her post-college years as a runner and triathlete, she decided to try a different challenge. March 1, 2013 was the day she decided that there was no better way to solidify going vegan than to do so as a bodybuilder. She was told “vegan bodybuilder is an oxymoron” and placed last in her first competition in 2013, but she never gave up on training and spreading the message. That paid off in 2017 when she became the first vegan pro in WNBF Fit Body and the first vegan pro in OCB women’s physique. Her pro debut in fall 2018 went better than expected by placing 2nd at the national level OCB Yorton Cup and 6th at the international level WNBF
Worlds. Each of those competitions has been against all non-vegans. Although she won’t compete again until 2020, she trains as hard as possible six days a week to prove that what many people think can’t be achieved on plants and compassion definitely can be! She is also an advocate of busting other myths, such as that women lifting weights will become bulky or “less feminine.”

Featuring Abbas Naqvi, Zakkiya Miller, Benita Gibbs, June Taylor, Celeste Moonchild. Moderated by Kayla Jai. 

Chef Demos


Chef Daniel is here as a participant of Veg Out Charlotte

Shane Martin of ShaneAndSimple.com is a Mississippi born and bred former 300 lb lover of all things Southern, drive-thru, and deep fried, who transformed his life and his family’s almost 6 years ago by switching to a plant-based / vegan diet. His recipes are easy, plant-based, and delicious, and tested by his toughest critics, his Southern wife and five children at his home in Matthews, North Carolina. Shane says, “Many call themselves “recipe developers,” but I prefer to call myself a “recipe adaptor.” I’m a guy who takes the complicated and makes it easy, healthy, and accessible for you.”

Chef John Schaal loves to ferment all of the things! As a personal chef here in Charlotte he sometimes gets to incorporate his love of fermentation with his clients, but he really enjoys being able to teach this magic and share it with others.