It's been hard to miss the headlines on the addictive nature of cheese, on the mainstreaming of vegan products, on apparent government/industry scams to squelch them, on the serious health risks tied to meat-eating and on the farm sanctuary started by Jon and Tracey Stewart. A decade ago, such bombshells might drop every couple months. Now it seems like every few days. Are we speeding toward a paradigm shift?

Spoiler alert: Yes. I'll explain why at the Philly Vegan Day event on Sunday, Nov. 1, in Houston Hall in the Bistro Room of Houston Hall (on the University of Pennsylvania campus at 3417 Spruce St.) from 10 am to 2 pm, part of Eat Remarkably, hosted by Penn Vegan Society.

The centerpiece of the event, shortly after noon, will be the reading of the proclamation from Mayor Nutter that declares November 1st to be Philly Vegan Day. We'll also have a representative from Philly Vegan Pledge, a program for the veg-curious that makes going vegan an easy step-by-step process. And local vegan vendors will have food samples. But this is one vegan event that's about more than food.
Donald and Dorothy Watson coined the term 'vegan' in November 1944, to denote "a philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude — as far as is possible and practicable — all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose." They also said it involves promoting "the development and use of animal-free alternatives," and that's the direction in which PVS is focusing.

PVS Board Member Natasha Iotov said "the Penn Vegan Society's 'Eat Remarkably' event celebrates Philadelphia's most innovative food entrepreneurs, and in light of Philadelphia Vegan Day, PVS is featuring selected small food business owners on Penn's campus to raise their profile and brand visibility. This is an opportunity not only to reflect on the environmental, health, and bioethical benefits of reorienting the city's appetite toward plant-based fare, but also a chance to celebrate the economic prosperity that accompanies our city's status as a globally renowned destination for vegan food."

The mayoral proclamation encourages Philadelphians and visitors alike to learn about the benefits of "vegetable-based" eating, and to "make their next meal a vegan" one. Iotov notes that it is fitting for this Mayor to recognize the city's plant-based sector, in which small new companies abound.
"Mayor Nutter's efforts have made Philadelphia an attractive environment for growing small businesses," she said. "Within the city's world-class culinary scene, the stakes and standards for new companies are high. PVS identifies and promotes extraordinary vegan chefs and their creations so as to make those barriers to entry a little lower."

The Houston Hall event is free and open to the public, although Philadelphians across the city will be celebrating World Vegan Day and Philadelphia Vegan Day with many activities, of which sharing vegan meals and education on the principles of veganism are the most popular.