Guest Speakers

Headliner - James Aspey!

Ranked #3 among the “Top 25 Most Influential Vegans” by Plant Based News, James has gone on to cycle 5000kms across Australia to prove that vegans can be fit & healthy. He got tattooed for 25 hours straight to raise $20,000 for charity. He’s been featured in a multitude of prominent mainstream media outlets; given free speeches at countless schools, universities, and conferences; and attended local activism events, slaughterhouse vigils, and street outreach events all across the world.


He transparently shares his life and campaigns online to a massive tribe of global followers. Online, his speeches have reached tens of millions of people. And his most popular speech has been viewed over 12 million times.


Enthusiastic, accessible and highly skilled behind a podium, James is inspiring a new generation to change how we eat and live in communion with the animals that share this home we call Earth.


But there’s so much more to this young man’s life than meets the eye. At 17, James was diagnosed with leukemia and told he only had 6 weeks to live. He beat the cancer only to slide into a life of drugs and alcohol punctuated by a eating disorder. Then a chance encounter with an Indian man would forever change the trajectory of James’ life forever.

Guest Speaker: Olivia Barwell

Queen’s University, Bachelor of Arts (Honours)- History and Political Science Ryerson University, Graduate Certificate- Food Security and Urban Agriculture


I listen to inspirational speeches, for a source of motivation; whether it be while running, lifting weights, rowing, or simply getting out of bed in the morning. These speakers make me feel like I can do anything. They give me the desire to improve, learn and grow. As a Training Specialist, I strive to do the same, for employees at 7ACRES. By providing education and sound instruction, I look forward to witnessing staff experience the joy of discovery, achievement, and success. Together, with everyone’s ever improving expertise and skill, we will continue to excel.


Picture a sports stadium, the last game of the season; the enthusiasm, the energy, the excitement, the spirit, the PASSION. Everyday at 7ACRES, is like the last game of the season. I am surrounded by a team of people, an entire workforce, who is passionate about what they are doing, and the company they work for. This passion goes along way. It lights a fire beneath me; encouraging me to play my best game, every single day.

Guest Speaker: Aimee Bertin

Queen’s University, Honours Bachelor Degree in Biological Sciences

A fascination with plants and their many uses led me to a career here at 7 Acres.


Working as Front Line Manager of Propagation, I get to be a part of the first stage of growth and to follow the progression of our plants from clone to flower. When not at work, I am an avid gardener, cook, and traveller, and love to observe the relationship between people and plants across the globe.

Although all 7 Acres values are integral to creating a positive and productive workforce, I find that Respect is largely all encompassing. As a work community we must have respect for each other, for our insights, ideas and experiences. In this booming industry, we must also show a great deal of respect to the plants, by bringing passion, innovation, and care to the job.

Guest Speaker: Janice Taylor

Janice Taylor B.Kin, B. Health Sciences in Physiotherapy, Registered Physiotherapist

Janice Taylor graduated in physiotherapy from McMaster University in 2000. She has practiced in orthopedics, pediatrics, and for the last 8 ½ years, she has worked as a pelvic health therapist in Port Elgin, ON. She believes in a holistic approach to health.  In 2014 she was introduced to essential oils by a midwife and chiropractor.  She is now an Aromatouch therapist, and with ongoing mentoring and training in aromatherapy from both aromatherapists and the medical and scientific advisory boards of doTERRA, as well as countless hours of self-teaching, she is excited to share the evidence for essential oils, and how one can safely integrate them into their daily lives to support mood, sleep, the immune system, pain management, woman’s health and so much more!

Guest Speaker: Aaron Prasad

Aaron has had a passion (and a big ego) for speaking ever since winning his Grade 6 speaking competition (technically, he tied for first place)—more than twenty years later, his excitement and dynamism before a crowd makes him a legend in his own mind. Throughout that time, he has been a 10-time main stage speaker and an 8-time Master of Ceremonies in the professional arena, as well as winning several arguments with (now ex) girlfriends; his proudest speaking moment to date was being asked to MC his sister’s wedding this past summer.


His favourite topics to present include his passion for training and cultivating relationships with dogs, the effects of physical activity and nutrition on mental health, and his concept of “Thrivation.” Most notably, however, is his passionate (yet non-preachy) advocacy for plant-based nutrition, its benefits, the path of least resistance that is adopting this eating style, and the step my step implementation for going more ‘veg head’ in our increasingly hectic and demanding lives.


After losing more than 50 pounds eating this way, Aaron has done everything he can to become as knowledgeable and practical as possible in this arena, and upped the ante with regards to his physical exercise to prove the lifestyle’s viability. Having completed almost a dozen obstacle races and mud runs (like Spartan, Tough Mudder, etc.), his first triathlon, he will be completing several 5k and 10k open water endurance swims this summer, and training for his first ultra-marathon running distance this year.

Aaron’s message will include stories and lessons learned from his 5 year food habit evolution. You’ll hear some of his favourite answers to the “protein” question, failures in his attempts to be perfect, and some of the key principles he believes are essential to consider when making food choices. Most importantly, you’ll hear his passionate appeal to add more fruits and vegetables to your daily meals, because fiber keeps you regular. 

COOKING DEMO CHEF: Alison Rowe from Alimentary

Alison is a plant based chef based in Walkerton.  She did her basic training at Ballymaloe Cookery School in Ireland, and later did a plant based chef training with Rouxbe Cooking School out of Vancouver.  


She founded Eat Well Market in 2011, a farmers market that first started in Walkerton and continuing this summer in Hanover. Her business, Alimentary, had a booth at the market for 5 years, selling meals, her husband’s artisanal bread and a variety of other goodies. 


She and her husband started a group called Our Healthy Plate that meets monthly in Walkerton for a vegan potluck dinner and ongoing education on plant based eating.


She works as a personal chef, a caterer, an educator and also cooks part time at Forkn’ Good Food in Walkerton. 


She started teaching cooking classes 20 years ago, and in the last 2 years has been focusing on sharing what she has learned about plant based eating, since switching to this lifestyle 8 years ago.  Of all the things she does, her favourite is teaching people to cook healthy, delicious plant based dishes and winning them over to a way of eating that will improve their health and the health of the planet, all without harming animals. 

Guest Speaker: Sande Irwin

Sande’s love for travel started when she had her children and would take family camping trips across the country. When she became a Girl Guide Leader, she had the opportunity to lead two backpacking trips to the U.K. and then to Europe.....and her taste for adventure blossomed. Years of traveling to resorts in sunny south followed but she always felt something was missing......her love of giving back to the community she was visiting. She started to research local initiatives that were available in the places she was vacationing in and her motto of “travel with purpose” became her focus. Seeking a more authentic and sustainable way to travel, she and her husband Rick, backpacked through Southeast Asia, becoming more aware of what responsible travel was all about. In 2018 she felt the calling to gather a group of random people and head to Nicaragua to do some community work and immerse themselves in the local culture......The Love & Kindness Tour was born. Most recently, Sande returned from a solo backpacking trip through Central and South America with the objective to source out experiences that offered an authentic and immersive way to see the world. 

It doesn’t take a big adventure to become a more responsible and sustainable traveller. All it takes is awareness. 

Join Sande as she shares her experiences and ways you can incorporate sustainable traveling into your next adventure.

Guest Speaker: Laura Rideout

Laura, is the co-owner of Culture Shock Kombucha, Lambton Shores first and only kombucha brewery located in the heart of Grand Bend Ontario. Laura is a faculty member at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition and is a public speaker where she conducts many talks across Southwestern Ontario. As a Registered Holistic Nutritionist specializing in digestive function, Laura is passionate about gut health and the role fermentation plays on ones overall vitality.

Has your child gone vegan?  Are you worried your child is not getting the proper nutrition?  Join Laura as she explains the key nutrients to thrive in a vegan lifestyle by using simple strategies such as food combining, meal prep and incorporating fermented food for gut health.  Learn some fun and quick recipes that your little vegans will be sure to help you with in the kitchen. 

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