Proof of vaccination required at Planted Expo on Nov. 20-21, 2021
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Speaker Schedule & Bios

Planted Expo Vancouver, Nov 20-21, 2021

Planted Expo Event Info > Speaker Schedule

Saturday, Nov 20 

10:45 AM - 11:00 AM  Land Acknowledgment & Product of the Year Presentation

11:00 AM - 11:30 AM Carla Pellegrini - Tackling Vancouver's Food Waste and Food Insecurity Problem

11:50 AM -  12:20 PM Aki Kaltenbach - Being the Change You Need 

12:20 PM - 1:00 PM Sonya Looney - Leading with Curiosity for Change

1:00 PM - 1:55 PM Rich Roll - The Plant-based Conversation

2:00 PM - 2:40 PM Matthew Nagra - Is Animal Protein Really King?

2:45 PM - 3:15 PM Nicolette Richer - 22 Million Strong

4:00 PM - 4:30 PM Lucy Lyons - How to Engage with your Physician on your Plant-based Journey

7:00 PM - 9:30 PM "An Evening With Rich Roll", live podcast recording plus meet and greet special event, details & tickets here.

Sunday, Nov 21

10:15-11:05 Dreena Burton - Dreena’s Kind Kitchen

11:10 AM - 11:45 AM Craig McIntosh & Joel Harrison - Getting to the Core of Food Waste

11:45 AM - 12:20 PM Muzammil Ahmad aka Dr.PlantBased - Planting The Path Forward

12:20 PM - 12:50 PM Chuck Carroll from the Exam Room Podcast - Weight Loss Champion, Over 400lbs lost

12:50 PM - 1:30 PM John Lewis, Badass Vegan - They’re Trying to Kill Us

1:30 PM - 2:15 PM Zoe Peled - Reframing Activism [and why there is Something for Everyone]

Amy Soranno | Meat The Victims
Jasmine C. Leyva | The Invisible Vegan
Jaunting Jay | Vancouver Urban Ecologist
Karen McAthy | Blue Heron Cheese

2:15 PM - 3:00 PM Desiree Neilsen - This is Your Gut on Plants

3:00 PM - 3:30 PM Anna Pippus - Tips on Going Vegan

4:00 PM - 4:30 PM Fiohann Shanahan Dover, Purica - Going Simply Beyond with Medicinal Mushrooms

Hosts and Emcees


Asha Wheeldon

Asha Wheeldon, founder of Kula Foods, began her journey in Kenya where sharing food with her community was an important part of every day. She migrated to Toronto as a young teenager where she was introduced to West African, Caribbean, and middle Eastern cuisine and culture. After moving to Vancouver she was inspired to create something unique that is reflective of her experiences by connecting people to their food and community.


Mahesh Kothamangalam 

Mahesh Kothamangalam is an Assistant Vice President of Operations in a large bank in the United States. Mahesh produced, directed and filmed his debut documentary on veganism titled Slice of Life that explores the growing popularity of plant-based meat products through interviews with prominent physicians, athletes, celebrities, politicians, restaurateurs and CEOs of food technology companies. The documentary premiered at the Kraków International Film Festival in Poland in 2019 and had sold out premieres in Vancouver, San Francisco and Austin. Mahesh is a recipient of “Shining World Compassion Award” from Supreme Master Ching Hai and “Merit of Awareness Award” from a L.A. film festival. Mahesh has encouraged and connected several restaurateurs to vegan food companies to introduce more vegan options on their menus.


Rebecca Duncan 

Rebecca Duncan is from the Squamish and Musqueam First Nations of the Coast Salish Peoples. Rebecca has devoted her life to preserve the Squamish Language along with her Cultural teachings that have been handed down to her from her late Papa and his Papa and so on and so on since the beginning of time. Rebecca is a remarkable storyteller, weaver, traditional cook, language teacher, singer & dancer. No matter where you are from, it is so important to know your history, your ties to the land, and your culture. Welcome to unceded Coast Salish Territory, Our history is your history!!!

Speaker Bios in Order of Appearance


Carla Pellegrini

Carla Pellegrini is the Executive Director of Food Stash Foundation and has over ten years of experience in non-profit and for-profit community development, social finance and operations management. Prior to joining Food Stash, she worked for over four years to help establish and grow New Market Funds, a B Corp certified impact investing firm in Vancouver, and before that launched the Vancouver office for Sonder, a hospitality tech start-up. Before moving to Canada, she worked abroad with One Acre Fund in Kenya and the US Peace Corps in Nicaragua. She holds an MPA from Columbia University and a BA from Boston College.


Aki Kaltenbach 

Aki is the CEO and Founder of Save Da Sea, a plant-based seafood company based in Victoria, BC. Aki came up with the idea for her company while running her family's Japanese restaurants. She became vegan and was looking for seafood alternatives and couldn't find any, so started developing her own recipes. Aki’s inspiration for going vegan was seeing the toll that unsustainable fish farming practices has had on British Columbia’s wild fish stocks.

sonya looney

Sonya Looney 

Sonya Looney is a Professional Mountain Biker who became World Champion after shifting to a plant-based diet. Sonya has won the toughest endurance races on the planet, racing in 25+ countries including Nepal, Morocco, Mongolia, Haiti, Sri Lanka, and Colombia.   Sonya's experiences led her to write for major cycling and wellness publications over 12 years about motivation, mindset, cycling, and plant-based nutrition.  These topics have carried forward into her podcast, The Sonya Looney Show, and into her international keynote speaking career. She also has her Master's Degree in Electrical Engineering and is a Health Coach.  Sonya is currently balancing her commitments as a full-time athlete, her business, and being a mother to a toddler.

rich w

Rich Roll

Rich is a living testament to the power of personal transformation. At age 40, having overcome an addiction to alcohol that almost completely derailed his life, he found himself out of shape and overweight, and in need of a major change in lifestyle. He switched to a 100% plant-based diet, lost 50 pounds, and soon shocked the endurance world by achieving top finishes in grueling endurance races like the Ultraman World Championships, while garnering praise as one of   the "25 Fittest Men in the World".  

 In May 2010, Rich put an exclamation point on his remarkable transformation with the EPIC5 Challenge - an odyssey that entailed completing 5 ironman distance triathlons on 5 islands of Hawaii in under a week.  

Check out "An Evening With Rich Roll" live podcast recording plus meet and greet on Nov, 20 @ 7:00 PM, get tickets here.


Dr. Matthew Nagra

Matthew Nagra is a Naturopathic Doctor and is a passionate advocate for the power of evidence-based nutrition as medicine. After struggling with various health issues throughout his childhood, he turned to a plant-based diet, which improved several of his health concerns. Since then he's been spending the majority of his free time researching the topic and seeking further education through the likes of the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies. Now through social media, public speaking, his volunteer work with, and his clinical practice, he aims to educate others on how they too can improve their health like he did years ago.


Nicolette Richer

Nicolette Richer is a Regenerative Medicine Educator, entrepreneur, author, Doctoral student and speaker. She is a savvy wellness facilitator and a renowned environmental and sustainability expert, with an insatiable desire to learn and educate. Nicolette transforms people with chronic disease or cancer into conquerors of their condition through nutrition. Nicolette speaks regularly to captivated audiences about healing cancer + chronic disease through nutrition and detoxification. 

lucy lyons

Lucy Lyons

Dr. Lucy will share how a diagnosis of melanoma in 2003, led her to pursue a plant-based diet. She will share how colleagues' attitudes to plant-based living, on both sides of the Atlantic, have changed for the better in these 18 years, but are not there yet. She will help you understand the training most MD's have received in nutrition and how the new paradigm shift of Plant based eating, can work in this antiquated model. Seeing physicians as individuals who have worked many gruelling years as junior doctors, not unlike elite athletes in their ability to continue, despite the stresses they face, will give you a new light on how to engage your physician to your advantage on your plant based adventure.

She will give tips for how to best use your family doctor, what tests are really necessary if you are vegetarian or vegan and other useful advice, empowering you to see food as medicine.

lucy lyons

Dreena Burton

Dreena Burton is the OG vegan cookbook author. Vegan for over 25 years, Dreena is also a mom to three daughters, all raised on a plant-based diet. Author of six vegan cookbooks, her most recent title "Dreena's Kind Kitchen" was released last August. Dreena has also collaborated with renowned plant-based physician Dr. Barnard on The Cheese Trap and coauthored their most recent Cookbook for Reversing Diabetes. Dreena’s recipes have been featured with groups including PCRM, Forks Over Knives, Blue Zones, and The Food Network. Connect with Dreena’s online kitchen and community at


Craig McIntosh

Craig McIntosh is the CEO of Trendi, a professional chef, and a social entrepreneur with a heart for how food brings us together. 


Joel Harrison

Joel Harrison is the Head of Marketing at Trendi, an impact podcaster, and is passionate about how we can make a difference in our lives and work. Together they will discuss the fundamental issues with food waste, how it’s our biggest societal problem, why it happens, and how robotics will help dig us out of this crisis.

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Muzammil Ahmad

Since young age, I struggled with multiple health issues like migraines, cystic acne, fatigue, and weight management. After years of doctors' visits, many medications and yet not feeling better, I eventually realized it was time to take a deep dive into literature myself and determine if there was something I could do myself to help with my health problems. I always had an intuitive feeling that what we eat has a direct impact on our health, but until then I had never looked into it in depth. Although I was eating an overall quite a healthy diet devoid of any processed foods, I wanted to see if there was something more I could do. 

As I took a deep dive into the literature, I discovered all the peer reviewed scientific literature showcasing the health benefits of plant-based diets and also how people in long living societies eat like the Blue Zones. I decided to switch my own diet to start incorporating more fiber rich plant-based foods. As I went predominantly plant-based, I started feeling much better. This inspired me to consider going fully plant-based and since then I have loved eating a whole food plant-based diet. My migraines have disappeared, my cystic acne has vanished, I feel more energized and I am able to eat nourishing large meals while at the same time maintain a healthy weight. Furthermore, I have been able to maintain my muscle mass and gain more strength and muscle eating just plants. 

I am a medical student and a nutrition coach passionate about raising awareness about the health benefits of plant-based diets and the importance of the role of diet in disease prevention, disease risk and disease progression. I believe in 'food as medicine' and utilizing lifestyle changes to optimize one’s health. As a medical student, I am passionate about transforming a reactionary approach to medicine to a more proactive approach. I want to bring this information to the forefront to help others as learning about plant-based nutrition has helped me with my health problems. I want to utilize my platforms like this website, my Instagram account, @dr.plantbased, and the Plant Prescription Podcast I co-host to make nutritional information simple and accessible so people are able to make informed decisions about the food they eat and the impact that has on their health.


Chuck Carroll

Host of the Exam Room Podcast, a fun and inspiring plant-based podcast from nutrition experts at The Physicians Committee. "The Weight Loss Champion" Chuck Carroll, who lost 280 pounds, motivates and educates both new vegans and those who have been plant-powered for life. Learn the secrets to improving your health from doctors and nutritionists and become inspired by others who have already reclaimed their health! Dive into the science of a plant-based diet like the effects of eating a single beef hamburger or slice of cheese can do to the body!


John Lewis, Badass Vegan

As a well renowned fitness expert, John Lewis has spent over 2 decades in the health and fitness industry and played Division I College basketball. John is highly passionate about not only his own health and fitness but that of others as well… Which are evident through his motivational messages either through his international public speaking engagements or simply through his social media outlets.

Today, John has taken his passion for health and is now directing his first feature-length documentary focused on food and social justice, "They are Trying to Kill Us". 


Zoe Peled

Zoe Peled is a Marketing and Community Engagement Professional, and PT, based in Vancouver, B.C. She received her BFA in Photography from Emily Carr University, with additional studies in Critical Theory, examining the positioning and terminology around animals. Her personal studies continue to examine animal/human relationships; which has led her to both speaking engagements and internationally published work (Antennae Journal of Nature in Visual Culture, UK.) 

Zoe is the co-founder of Ban Fur Farms BC, is a Vancouver March To Close All Slaughterhouses co-organizer, facilitates events and community relations for numerous local vegan businesses, and founded the Vancouver Vegan Resource Centre (VVRC) in Fall 2018. Zoe has been vegan for almost 12 years, and an animal rights activist for {almost} the same duration of time. 


Amy Soranno | Meat The Victims 

Amy Soranno is an activist who has dedicated her life to fighting for animal liberation. She focuses on investigating animal agriculture, creating strategic campaigns, as well as engaging in mass civil disobedience events. Amy is the organizer of “Meat the Victims” Canada, conducting precedent-setting events across the country. As a result of her work, she is facing charges and potentially decades in prison for exposing the realities that farmed animals face. Amy also gives talks and workshops on how to challenge animal agriculture and the systems that exploit animals, humans, and the planet. 


Jasmine C. Leyva | The Invisible Vegan

Jasmine C. Leyva is an independent filmmaker based out of Los Angeles.  She directed "The Invisible Vegan," a documentary about health in the black community that can be found on Amazon Prime, and prior to directing her own films, she starred in several national commercials and worked on several network TV shows.  She is currently working on two follow-up documentaries highlighting food issues in underrepresented communities. 


Jaunting Jay | Vancouver Urban Ecologist

Jaylen is an urban wildlife ecologist, animal behaviourist and educator. They are non-binary, queer, Black and latinx, and work to bring the intersections of their identity into their advocacy, education, and research.  Jaylen was born in Toronto, a city built on the lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples. In 2015 they relocated to Vancouver, a city built on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and sə̓lílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) first nations. Jaylen uses science and social media to connect people with the land, and the animals we share space with.


Karen McAthy | Blue Heron Cheese

Chef Karen McAthy, is CEO and co-founder of Blue Heron a dairy-free, plant-based artisan cheese and foods company in Vanouver, BC. 

Born in Alert Bay, BC and raised on the west coast, Karen’s focus as a chef has been highly centred on plant-based foods, fermentation, preserving, reducing food waste and working within the local food system. Karen’s passion for working within food has its roots in her childhood, growing up with parents from agricultural backgrounds, and living within a community highly attentive to its environmental resources and the place of humans within it. 

Karen began research and development of what has become the foundational method of the cultured vegans of Blue Heron, while she was executive chef at Graze Vegetarian (a now closed vegan restaurant). 

Karen is also the author of The Art of Plant-based Cheesemaking (New Society Publishers, 2017, which won the vegan cookbook category of the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, 2018, and the expanded/revised 2021 second edition.


Desiree Neilsen

Desiree Nielsen is a registered dietitian, host of The Allsorts Podcast  and author of the bestselling plant-based cookbook, Eat More Plants and the upcoming Good for Your Gut (2022). Her practice focus is chronic digestive and inflammatory disease as well as plant-based approaches to optimal health.


Anna Pippus

Anna Pippus is the bestselling author of The Vegan Family Cookbook, a collection of simple recipes and game-changing strategies to make vegan cooking practical, fun, and delicious. A lifelong food lover and the self-appointed Kitchen Manager in her family, Anna is known for her casual, creative, and realistic approach to healthy and flavourful vegan cooking. Anna holds degrees in law and psychology, having worked as a farmed animal advocacy lawyer in Toronto and Vancouver, and has been named one of Canada’s most influential vegans. She now calls East Van home with her husband and two children.


Fiohann Shanahan Dover

Join Fiohann Shanahan Dover from Purica as he dives into "Going Simply Beyond with Medicinal Mushrooms".


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