Portland is the most vegan-friendly city in the country; VegFest turns 15 – OregonLive

Posted: October 8, 2019 at 6:50 am

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Its been a big week of news for Portland-area vegans and vegetarians: The city just scored the top ranking in a national survey of vegetarian and vegan-friendly cities; the 15th annual VegFest hits the Oregon Convention Center this weekend; and a Portland vegan chicken sandwich scores big on a national list. Heres a look at each.

Portland has long been known as a place where vegetarians and vegans find plenty of food options at the grocery store and at restaurants. Now the city can brag about being the best city in the nation for vegans and vegetarians, according to a new ranking by the website WalletHub.

The website took a look at the 100 largest U.S. cities, comparing 17 key indicators of vegan- and vegetarian-friendliness. Among the metrics were things like how much groceries costs, how many restaurants offer meat-free options, and how easy it is to score a salad.

When it came to affordability, its no surprise that Portland didnt fare well, coming in at 22nd out of 100. But it scored high for the diversity, quality and easy access of plant-based food options (3rd overall), and ranked near the top of the vegan lifestyle category (8th) for our organic farms, community gardens and other factors. The combination of those scores put Portland in the No. 1 spot, ahead of Los Angeles, Orlando, Seattle, and Austin, Texas.

Scoring at the bottom of the list was El Paso, Texas, which is known for its Tex-Mex fare, not easy access to salads.

Visitors of all ages can learn something about plant-based living and eating at Portland VegFest, which has its 15th edition Oct. 5-6 at the Oregon Convention Center.

One of the factors WalletHub looked at for its ranking was the number of vegan and vegetarian food festivals, and Portland has one of the best with VegFest, which turns 15 this weekend at the Oregon Convention Center.

The annual food festival, which is presented by NW Veg, includes motivational speakers, cooking demonstrations, and screenings of documentaries and health-related films.

The big draw is the main exhibition hall, where festivalgoers can sample a variety of food products, ranging from decadent chocolate to vegan cheese, buy vegan clothes and cookbooks, and learn about community groups that are doing good things for animals and the environment. Several vegan restaurants will be on-hand, offering full meals for purchase.

Expect to come away with a bag full of samples and coupons.

VegFest runs 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday in Exhibition Hall A of the Oregon Convention Center, 777 N.E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Tickets can be purchased in advance or at the door.

Unless youve been in a cave, you know this past summer has been about the national chicken sandwich wars. While chains like Popeyes and Chick-fil-A have been duking it out, vegan restaurants across the country have been coming up with their own plant-based versions of the popular sandwich.

This week, PETA came out with a list of the 21 best vegan chicken sandwiches, and North Portlands Homegrown Smoker scored a spot with its Fancy Chikn, which features a smoked piece of faux-chicken topped with tempeh bacon, avocado, arugula, tomato and a spicy chipotle aioli.

Chicken sandwiches from the chains Veggie Grill, Next Level Burger and Native Foods also made PETAs list. All three have Portland-area locations.

-- Grant Butler


503-221-8566; @grantbutler

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Portland is the most vegan-friendly city in the country; VegFest turns 15 - OregonLive

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October 8th, 2019 at 6:50 am

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