Event included education on animal welfare, environmental stewardship and plant-based living




The second-annual Winnipeg VegFest happened at the University of Winnipeg on Sept. 15, and included interesting items from 75 vendors. These embroidered pieces from the vendor REAL SWANKY feature a mix of vegan-oriented quips that promise to “horrify your guests.”


Reactions to before-and-after photos of a cow named Archie showed the compassionate hearts that many Winnipeggers have toward animals at the second-ever Winnipeg VegFest at the University of Winnipeg on Sept. 15.


Archie the sow was in bad shape, said Raelle Schoenrock. Schoenrock showed how her care for Archie allowed him to heal and live out the rest of his life in a home best suited to his needs at animal sanctuary Kismet Creek Farm, located six miles south of Steinbach.


“We provide a forever farm for animals in need. Our hearts act quicker than our heads sometimes, so we have a lot of animals now,” said Raelle Schoenrock, who owns and operates the farm sanctuary with her husband, Karl. “Every animal we refer to as our child. People visit and have a really beautiful experience.”


Schoenrock said the sanctuary is open to visitors, and hosts fundraising events like goat yoga and vegan potlucks. The money raised goes to purchasing farm animals that are injured, or ones from livestock auctions.


The Winnipeg Humane Society says gestation crates (or sow stalls) are where many pigs live their entire lives. Pigs held in these stalls (on display at VegFest on Sept. 15) are unable to engage in regular pig socialization.


Kismet Creek was just one of many organizations that gathered at the annual vegan event. Winnipeg VegFest included presentations, workshops, and 75 vendors, featuring food, art, environmentally-friendly household products and organizations caring for animal welfare.


The event started last year as a way to bring together Winnipeg’s diverse vegan community.


“When I arrived in Winnipeg in 2013, it seemed like there were many vegans scattered and spread out throughout the city. I had no idea how many there actually were,” said Jason Hannan, co-chair of the event and associate professor at the University of Winnipeg.


Hannan said everyone is welcome at their events, even if they aren’t vegan.