Eddie Garza

Eddie Garza is Senior Manager of Food & Nutrition for the Humane Society of the United States and is a leading figure in the movement to reform food systems in Latino communities. Garza and his work have been featured by a wide variety of media outlets in the United States and Latin America, including CNN, Telemundo, Univision, ¡Hola! TV, Fox News Latino, TV Azteca, Latin Times, and Caracol Radio. Garza has collaborated with some of the nation’s most influential school districts and higher education institutions to develop and implement innovative plant-based meal programs, and has conducted culinary trainings and ideations for major hospitals, restaurant groups, culinary schools, and public school systems in regions with high Hispanic populations. He’s a sought-after speaker, culinary coach, published writer, and thought leader on issues related to Latino health, and has lectured and presented at top universities, public school forums, and major conferences, including the Texas Association for School Nutrition and SXSW.
Follow Eddie on Twitter and Instagram @theeddiegarza and Facebook.com/theeddiegarza.

Will Tucker

Will is a fitness expert and award-winning professional vegan bodybuilder. He constantly dispels the myth that large amounts of animal protein is required to build an outstanding physique.  His philosophy is that all the nutrients the body requires are available in a well-balanced plant-based diet that is high in carbohydrates with minimal amounts of protein and healthy fats. As a certified fitness trainer, he helps his clients develop plant-based nutrition plans that fit their individual preferences and needs.  For over 10 years everyone from soccer moms to CEO’S, medical professionals and even celebrities have called on Will when they need to get in shape in the shortest time possible.

* 4x Natural Bodybuilding Champion
* Owner WTF! (Will Tucker Fitness)
* Author/Certified Fitness Trainer/Speaker
* Contributor to Vegan Health and Fitness Magazine
* Vegan For 5 years

Emily Byrd

Emily Byrd works at The Good Food Institute, a nonprofit taking a radically different approach to end our reliance on factory farming. Emily grew up in hog country, North Carolina, sailing and swimming in one of the most endangered rivers in the United States. Consequently, she developed a keen interest in the links between animal agriculture, environmental destruction, nutritional choices, and social change. After graduating from UNC Chapel Hill’s School of Journalism, she worked as a writer and editor for Food News Media, reporting on the food industry and the structures that govern it. Emily has also volunteered with a number of organizations seeking to connect low-income families with sustainable plant-based foods and nutritional education. At GFI, Emily works to spread the word about how we can create a healthy, humane, and sustainable future for food by leveraging markets and food technology to take animals out of the food system. Her talk is titled, Nerds Over Cattle: Foodtech to End Factory Farming.

Health Panelists:

Kristen D’Amato

Kristen D’Amato is a Psychic Healer, Women’s Wellness Practitioner, and founder of the Women’s Center for Whole Body Healing in Asheville, NC. Kristen uses her innovative system, the Wheel of Whole Body Healing, to support women suffering from overwhelm, chronic anxiety, and physical pain, who fear their symptoms will never change. In addition to seeing clients individually, Kristen has a large online presence offering live group energy healings to women around the globe. Kristen’s first book, Food for the Light Body, is a plant-based, gluten-free cookbook with easy-to-make, delicious recipes for all types of people. The cookbook shares the connection between a plant-based diet, healing, and optimal health. Kristen, her husband Tristan, and their son Azeza are fully plant-based and live in the beautiful mountains of Asheville, NC. To find out more about Kristen visit her website: www.kristendamato.com

Shannon Bourret

Healthy living has always been a part of Shannon’s life, and she is passionate about encouraging it in others. Shannon’s educational background includes exercise science and kinesiology, and before joining the Whole Foods Market family in 2012, she worked as a children’s cooking camp counselor and a leader at a healthy lifestyles clinic. Outside of Health Starts Here activities at Whole Foods Market and in the community, Shannon loves exercising—especially running outdoors—and experimenting with plant-based recipes in her kitchen.

Shami Hariharan

Shami Hariharan is a primary care physician, practicing integrative medicine in Concord, NC.  A vegan for 10 years herself, she believes that a plant-based diet is not only ideal for our physical health but is also in line with the idea of true health and wellness stemming from a balance of the mind, body, and spirit.

*We are still seeking health experts for our Health Panel Discussion. Please contact us at charlottevegfest@thehumaneleague.com for inquiries about joining our panel.