This month, South Carolina’s first ever VegFest is coming to Shelter Cove from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 22. Local wellness expert Carla Golden calls it an “event that will show how fun and easy it is to eat a plant-based diet in the Lowcountry.”

The keynote speaker at this event will be Howard Lyman, an American farmer and author of the book “Mad Cowboy.” A former cattle rancher, Lyman is perhaps best known for his appearance with Oprah Winfrey, in which she denounced hamburgers, which resulted in a suit against both Winfrey and Lyman by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Both were exonerated.

Other speakers include Lorena Mucke, president and founder of the Ethical Choices Program, which I plan to write more about next month, and Joshua Carpenter Costner from the Cotton Branch Farm Animal Sanctuary.

In addition to the talks, there will be cooking demonstrations by Lisa Mase-Syragakis, author of blog, which has been named one of Pop Sugar’s Top 25 Vegetarian Mom blogs two years in a row.

Her blog provides “recipes, tips, links, reviews, advice and support for raising a vegan family.” I will be looking forward to learning how to make some of her delicious recipes.

In addition to the excellent lineup of speakers and the cooking demonstrations, there will be food from local restaurants, beer and wine gardens and entertainment for the children. It’s an event for the entire family.

While there will be plenty of entertainment, the real value of this event will be the learning opportunities through the speakers, the cooking demonstrations and the numerous exhibits.

There are more than two dozen exhibitors’ booths, at which attendees will be able to learn about all things plant based, from local restaurants serving plant-based foods to a chiropractor who understands and guides his patients on the importance of a whole foods, plant-based way of eating.

This event is hosted by Palmetto Plant Eaters, a local group that helps its members to live a whole foods, plant-based lifestyle. According to the event organizers, as many as 500 people are expected to attend. Though it is a free event, those attending are requested to bring a non-perishable plant-based food item as a donation to the Sandalwood Food Pantry.

Organizers for this event include Carla Golden, Shanti Bringas, Terri Nelson-Bunge, Felicia Spence, Jenny Hayek-Bonomini, Lauren Koslow, Meredith Johnson and Jason Telmos. To learn more about this event, readers can go to I believe this event will be a good introduction to eating the whole foods, plant-based way.

J Lanning Smith is a local freelance writer focused on the whole foods, plant-based lifestyle