Firmly Planted 

Bastet Ankh Re is one of Memphis' most well known vegans. For the past 10-plus years, she's been dishing out animal-free advocacy one delicious meal at a time, first as one of the Vegan Sisters, then in various restaurant ventures (among them DejaVu), and now as owner of the snack line OC Vegan Foods and the store Natural House of Wellness.

And while Ankh Re has been diligent about spreading the vegan gospel, she has not been pushy. In regards to this weekend's Plant-Based Food Festival, she first did a sort of trial run last year with her vegan challenges. She rallied participants from community centers in North and South Memphis and Whitehaven to try the diet for a week. Of the 34 who signed on, 22 completed the challenge.

Having gauged community interest, she made plans for the festival and decided to avoid the word "vegan." "I didn't want to scare people," she says.

Among the featured guests at the festival are Nigel Simister and the Flyer's Bianca Phillips, who will lead cooking demos. Phu' Cha will be there to talk about natural beauty. Balewa Bayete will cover raw food, and Adam Guerrero will talk about bee keeping and worm composting.

There will be kid activities as well, and folks dressed as carrots and sweet peas will hand out fruit. Musical artists will perform songs they've written about eating well and exercising.

And, yes, there will be vegan food and plenty of it from DejaVu, Balewa's Vegan Gourmet, OC Vegan Foods, and others.

For Ankh Re, the festival is not just about eating well, it's about living well.

Says Ankh Re, "It's to let the people of Memphis know we care."

Plant-Based Food Festival at T.O. Fuller State Park, Friday-Saturday, June 22nd-23rd, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. $5.

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