Before it was the seat of a revolution, Marshall, Texas, was like a lot of other small towns across America: obesity, diabetes, cancer and heart disease were everywhere. The town’s mayor, Ed Smith, was no exception, and was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008.
Facing the prognosis, Mayor Smith decided to treat it with a whole foods, plant-based diet. Eventually, the cancer disappeared. He was so inspired, he wanted to share the wealth, and his transition turned into a full-fledged movement (Get Healthy Marshall) that’s inspired thousands of people across the globe.
Basically, Marshall, Texas, earned a reputation as a town where health rules and animal protein drools.
Fast forward to now, and some of the nation’s biggest names in the vegan world are gathered at Marshall’s Healthfest 2015 this weekend to wax poetic about the power of plants.
Formerly called the New Year, New You Health Fest, the non-profit annual event attracts people from all over the globe to learn more about a plant-based, whole foods diet. 17 big names are presenting at this year’s incarnation, including speakers, athletes, and best-selling authors.
From legendary Dr. T. Colin Campbell to Farm Sanctuary founder Gene Baur to vegan marathoner and cookbook author Ellen Jaffe Jones; from athlete and author Rich Roll to No Meat Athlete founder Matt Frazier to cheesemonger Miyoko Schinner, it’s a lineup of the savviest speakers in the vegan universe.
Healthfest 2015 is also whirlwind of activities; it has celebrity cooking demos, a vegan chili cook-of, fitness classes (Zumba!) and lots of other options throughout its three-day run. There are a whole host of talks and informational sessions on juicing, making your own pantry staples, meal planning—even erectile dysfunction. Attendees are wildly enthusiastic about it, and there’s no question that this event—and everything else the town is up to, changes (and saves) lives.
If Marshall, Texas, can make this kind of transition … so can the rest of the world.
To stay clued in about everything happening in Marshall this weekend, search the hashtags #Healthfest2015 and #HF2015.