The benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle are being promoted in some schools and among young people, says a spokesperson for the Toronto Vegetarian Association.

“When we are manning booths at events we see kids coming to us to learn about vegetarianism and how to go about it,” says Mishka Alarcon, special events co-ordinator for the 1,300-member association which was founded in 1945.

“The kids tell us that some schools even have meat-free weeks to reduce the students’ carbon footprint,” she says. “It’s interesting that some schools are supporting these types of initiatives as well.”
Alarcon says that interest in vegetarianism is growing.

“We are letting people know that a vegetarian diet is also great for their health and prevents or reverses conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, prostate and colon cancer,” she says.

Among the speakers will be Brenda Davis of Kelowna, B.C., author of “Becoming Vegetarian,” and Colleen Patrick-Goudreau of California, who wrote “The Joy of Vegan Baking.”

This year’s food fair will feature vegetarian dishes from around the world at the World Cafe, including Mexican, Indian, Chinese and Italian.