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Premiere Plant-Based Pitch Hour at U.S. Veg Corp Event

San Francisco, CA, September 08, 2019 --( In a town that buzzes with startups, September 21st will bring a green sheen to the endeavor. The Kelp Tank pitch hour will take place at the California Vegetarian Food Festival & Symposium. With three judges and a grand prize, attendees will see a live, all-vegan pitch hour at the Palace of Fine Arts.

Festival co-organizer Sarah Feoli said that since California is known for its start-ups, and there are a plethora of exciting new companies in the plant-based space, the Kelp Tank was a natural. “Our festival is a showcase for all kinds of vegan food and lifestyle vendors,” she said. “But we wanted to put a spotlight on a couple of the latest innovators.”

Back of the Yards Algae Sciences will be one of the featured companies in the tank. Its goals include finding environmentally friendly sources of plant-based protein and making urban farming more economically sustainable. The Chicago-based company wants to create cell-based meat, fish and chicken which can become key components of our food chain.

Another featured company will be Kubé which is producing a non-dairy coconut ice cream made without chemical preservatives. It touts responsiveness to a “triple bottom line”: restorative economics, equity, and ecology. Toward those ends, its manufacturing plant will hire formerly incarcerated women who are survivors of human trafficking, sexual abuse, and domestic violence.

A third business in the tank will be Eat Makhana, which is creating a new snack food from the popped seeds of rare water lily plants. While makhana has been consumed in India for thousands of years, company founders Millika Chawla and Amruta Gadgil emphasize attributes prized today: a crunchy, grain-free, paleo-friendly, non-preservative alternative to popcorn, which also doesn’t contain any of the 8 major allergens. They said they were pushed to invent the company in graduate school. “We were stress-eating away our grad school dreams. As chips, popcorn, and sugary bars piled up, so did our guilt,” they said. “Inspired by our moms, we started making makhana!”

Judges on tap to hear the companies’ pitches include:

· Susie Picken Burch, a lifelong networker with a graduate degree in macroeconomics and marketing. She has been a marketing executive for Novartis Pharmaceuticals, The Hershey Company and Miyoko's Creamery.

· Alex Kopelyan, Program Director and Partner at IndieBio. He holds a PharmD from the University of Iowa and has a background across the clinical, global health, and startup worlds.

· Aylon Steinhart, the founder/CEO of Eclipse Foods, a Y Combinator-backed startup making plant-based dairy products that are indistinguishable from conventional dairy. He has worked with companies such as Kraft, Heinz, Nestle, and Kellogg’s; and he studied at UC Berkeley's Haas School of Business.

The Kelp Tank Pitch Hour will take place 12:40-1:40 p.m. on the festival’s Banana Symposium Stage.

Additionally, there will be top industry speakers such as best-selling author Dr. Michael Greger, Zen monk Dr. Will Tuttle, and national bodybuilding champion Will Tucker, as well as cooking demonstrations by leading plant-based chefs such as “Silver Chic Chef” Elysabeth Alfano, “Vegucator” Chef Lisa Books-Williams, and nutrition professor Timaree Hagenburger. Attendees will be invited to sample bites at the end of each demo.

For the younger crowd, the festival will host the Kumquat Kids Area featuring activities by Community Grows. There will be art activities, gardening tips, snack-making and -eating, and story-telling. Over on the Mind & Body Zones, festival-goers can participate in classes on yoga, meditation, pilates, foot reflexology, and black belt karate.

The Grapes Stage will showcase musical entertainment from the likes of Groovy Judy, Lilian Borunda, IndiviDúo, the Sarah Matthews Band, and Lauren Wahl. In the Artichoke Art Alley, renowned graffiti artist and rapper DJ Cavem will oversee “urban calligraphy.”

Rounding out the festival’s offerings will be scores of booths manned by vendors and non-profit information tables. There will also be a charity fundraiser for this year’s non-profit beneficiary, Community Grows, including wares from featured vendors.

For further information on the California Vegetarian Food Festival and Symposium or to purchase advance tickets visit:
Contact Information
U.S. Veg Corp
Sarah Feoli

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