Plant-based Society at F.I.U. Encourages Students to be V.I.P.

Photography courtesy of Emma Sky Photography

Vegan Evan and Brenden Fitzgerald
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On Wednesday, April 11, 2018, the Plant-based Society at Florida International University hosted V.I.P. (Vegan Inspired People,) an evening event at the GC Faculty Lounge, which featured delicious plant-based food, informative presentations, and forward-thinking entrepreneurs.

IMG_8609Well-known members of the vegan community like child activist Vegan Evan @veganevan, owner of the plant-based restaurant Mana Life Food Sabra Seligman @mannalifefood, and politician Tim Canova @tim_canova, among many others, spoke to the audience about how going vegan can improve the environment, the lives of animals, and your personal health.

Vegan Evan

Adorable, pint-sized, seven-year-old animal activist Vegan Evan charmed the audience with his raps. He also just came out with a new video on climate change, but it has not yet been released. He explains how animal agriculture is the leading cause of environmental degradation using kid-friendly animations.

Don’t miss a clip of him rapping for the audience.

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University law professor, activist, and attorney Tim Canova, who is running for governor of Florida’s 23rd precinct as an independent candidate, is also a life-long vegan–34 years to be exact.

Tim Canova

He gave a moving and enlightening talk in which he mentioned his former life as a lawyer in New York City, where he led an unhealthy lifestyle  “working like a dog and living like a rat.” He opened up about the health scare that led him to reconsider his diet and discussed one of the books that helped open his eyes: Diet for a New America by John Robbins. Check out a clip of his introduction:

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He  gave some notable facts: “A vegan driving a hummer has a lower carbon footprint  than a meat-eating Prius driver.”  There were a few wows in the audience of mostly F.I.U. students who were really surprised by that tidbit of information.

The plant-based candidate also talked about the connection between violence in society and eating meat. He said that the current economy is one of “death, destruction, and despair.” He discussed the known link between animal abuse and domestic violence, which even police are trained to identify, and he called for a peaceful planet, one that begins on our plates.  Coincidentally, outside on the Florida International University campus lawns,  purple flags are erect during April to raise awareness about the epidemic of sexual assault on college campuses. We will never know peace until all living beings live free from harm.  Please view the rest of his informative and passionate talk:

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Be sure to join his campaign for a plant-based economy at  Tim Canova for Congress 


Sabra Seligman, the owner of Mana Life Food, a plant-based cafe in downtown Miami with the most delicious and healthy arepas in town, focused on the health benefits of eating a plant-based diet. She spoke about the importance of eating the colorful edibles of nature, many of which are known as superfoods, to avoid disease. She quoted Hippocrates: “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine thy food.” Watch a segment of her awesome speech:

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Some local plant-based food entrepreneurs who are changing the climate one business at a time, were also present.

Plant-based Entrepreneurs

Gabriel Lopez, @2the rootsvegancroquetas, brought croquetas that he made with all-natural healthy ingredients: yuca, sweet potatoes, onion, zucchini, bell peppers, and spices.  They are mouth-fulls of plant-based happiness

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Sonia Tigero of Dosha Ayurveda Cafe + Juice Bar brought samples of her delicious lentils.  The founders of Planet Protein, Carly Bergman and Brenden Fitzgerald, came out to talk about their journey as planet-based businesspeople with their healthy and tasty protein bars.


Planet Protein Founders





Founder of Animal Hero Kids  Susan Hargreaves also gave a presentation about her fantastic organization, which celebrates courageous and compassionate action by kids and teens and educates youngsters about building a more humane world for all animals.  She boasts saving 11, 688 animals in thirty-two years of being vegan, a number she derived from

Susan Hargreaves

There was also a musical performance by Brielle Murich and Israel Perez. @eco_not_ego and @everythingearthtribe

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Brielle Murich
Brielle Murich and Israel Perez

Plant-based Society was established Spring 2016 and since then this group has been uniting the vegan community and improving the environment one event at a time. The president is Lilian Rodicio, the vice-president is Nelida Insua-Coelho, who is also a journalist with PantherNOW, the Panther Press and Panther Magazine of Florida International University,  the event coordinator is Maria Elizabeth Estrada, CSO Rep is Brielle Murich, Treasurer is Alba Urbina, and Historian is Amanda Jung. Check out more from the Plant-based Society at F.I.U.

Nelida Insua-Coelho
F.I.U. V.I.P.

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