Dr. Natalie J. Wiggins, ND
Licensed Naturopathic Doctor
Health Benefits of a
Dr. Wiggins is a licensed Naturopathic doctor practicing general family medicine. She treats a wide variety of conditions using naturopathic modalities. She compassionately leads patients to health through comprehensive individualized care that focuses on identifying and correcting underlying disruptions of health that can lead to disease. She facilitates intentional change through education and earned trust, and achieves positive outcomes through unique treatment plans.
Dr. Wiggins has been a vegetarian since age 12; and plant- based since age 19. She is an advocate for individual and environmental health.
Director and Counsel of Captive Animal Law Enforcement at the PETA Foundation
Animal Advocate’s Toolkit: Practical Tips and Resources for Protecting Animals in Your Community
Michelle Sinnott is the Director and Counsel of Captive Animal Law Enforcement at the PETA Foundation. Michelle works closely with PETA to advise on issues related to captive animals exploited in circuses, roadside zoos, aquaria, and traveling shows. She handles a variety of legal issues arising from PETA’s work on behalf of captive wildlife, including regulatory and law enforcement efforts, policy work, litigation, and investigations. Her work has prevented shopping mall aquarium attractions from opening new locations, led to criminal wildlife trafficking convictions, and landed numerous roadside zoos in legal trouble with state and federal regulatory authorities.
Nourished Health Coaching Services
The 100+ Wellness Journey:
What if you ate only foods produced within a 100-mile circumference of your home? What would your diet consist of? How could your body benefit from eating locally produced foods? What specific nutritional benefits would those foods provide? What would you have to give up?
Winona Benson is an advocate for health and is credited as a National Board Certiﬁed Health & Wellness Coach, a Nutrition Educator, Speaker, Author, Culinary Instructor, and Personal Chef.
Nourished Health Coaching Service was founded in 2014 by Winona Benson. The business is located in Palmer, Alaska.
She has a passion for teaching people about making small health & and lifestyle changes that can last a lifetime. A speciﬁc area of focus in her business is teaching people how to add more nutrition to their plates and how to make vegetables taste delicious! As a personal chef, she focuses on creating nutrient-dense, plant-based meals that provide excellent nutrition and delicious meals for her clients.
Winona was born and raised in Alaska and loves to ‘live her lifestyle’ in the beautiful mountains and trails all around Alaska. An avid hiker, biker, and skier, you will ﬁnd her enjoying nature throughout all the seasons.
Vegan 101 & Cooking Demos
(located at demo station 2)
Alex was trained as a classical (non-vegetarian) chef at the world-renowned Culinary Institute of America. In 2001, she opened a restaurant in California called Sparks with an entirely plant-based menu. Sparks quickly became well-known for its outstanding food, even among non-vegans. Alex is now a professional fundraiser and serves as Vice President of Development for the international organization Vegan Outreach. When she’s not raising money to change how animals are treated she jumps back into the kitchen: She has taught healthy cooking techniques and recipes at Whole Foods Market, for the McDougall Program (a nationally renowned preventative health program), and for local groups and companies since 2000. Alex is now based in Anchorage, Alaska, where she enjoys pancakes with wild Alaska blueberries and searching for the best soy cappuccino in the 49th state!
Erica Lujan is an avid AK foodie who happily made her way to Blue Market AK in 2021. As one of the managers, she has had the wonderful opportunity to meet farmers, makers, harvesters, and growers from all over the state. Her passion for local food systems took her to Juneau for the first time this year, where she brought the experiences of other local food retailers to a legislative Lunch and Learn presentation sponsored by the Alaska Food Policy Council. With the recent growth of Alaskan farming, Erica is thrilled to be a part of Veg Fest and learn even more about how to support and advocate for local food systems.
The Frozen Plant Guy
A lifelong plant enthusiast, who grew up in Fairbanks and graduated high school in North Pole. He was involved with the North Pole chapter of FFA for all of high school which helped channel his passion for plants into growing food in the subarctic. The challenges were continuous in the rigorous Interior Alaska climate, but Josh’s passion and inherent stubbornness led to unlikely successes! Especially when seeing the changes in the local climate regarding winter cold, growing season length, and accumulated heat units (GDDs), he realized it was time to try the impossible. Apples, cherries, and various berries in Zone 1 North Pole are considered impossible to do! With the challenges of Alaska’s food security in the face of climate change, he has taken to social media and presented to local groups to share successes in trials. He has also teamed up with the Matanuska Experiment Farm in Palmer and Georgeson Botanical Garden in Fairbanks with the “Future crops initiative” in developing new crops for our changing climatic parameters! This started with almost 300 hybrid hazelnuts planted in July of this year and will expand to other fruits/nuts developed for our climate. The hope is through these partnerships and shared data, we can develop new crops to bring Alaska closer to food security while motivating more Alaskans to get involved in the conversation.
Dr. Cameron O'Connell
Licensed Naturopathic Doctor
Women's Health and a
Dr. Cameron O’Connell is a Naturopathic primary care doctor with interests in longevity, endocrinology, and sexual health. Dr. O’Connell hails from Alaska and spent much of her childhood improving her microbiome by playing in the forest and foraging for snacks among the edible flora. Having had variable life experiences – from working at a ski resort in Montana to acting as the Assistant Medical Director for the Engine2 Immersion Programs in 2016 - she loves meeting and helping people with a variety of backgrounds and concerns.
Dr. O'Connell graduated with a Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine from the National University of Natural Medicine in 2015 and completed her subsequent residency with TrueNorth Health Center. Her time at TrueNorth allowed her to mentor Dr. Peter Sultana, M.D.; Dr. Michael Klaper, M.D.; Anthony Lim, M.D.; Dr. Alan Goldhamer, D.C. and Dr. Csilla Veress, N.D. She is certified in water-fasting through the International Association of Hygienic Physicians. She is currently serving as the Assistant Medical Director at the Engine2 Immersion Experiences. Her undergraduate degree is a B.A. obtained from George Fox University in Writing/Literature with a Biology Minor. Dr. O’Connell is confident that these two degrees sum her up well as an individual.
Seeds and Soil Farm
Based in scenic Palmer, Alaska, Jennifer is not just any seed grower—she's a dedicated regenerative seed cultivator. With a Master's degree in Environmental Policy, her academic prowess is matched equally by her hands-on expertise.
With over 20 years of gardening experience, a certified permaculture designer, and an instructor, Jennifer has pioneered advancements in ecological gardening for Alaska.
Jennifer is the visionary behind the trailblazing curriculum for regenerative gardening, a program that's been embraced and replicated not just in Alaska, but across Canada and the Lower 48. She has instructed over 1,000 Alaskans in a balanced methodology for gardening in the Far North. Beyond her connection with nature, Jennifer finds joy as an amateur golfer and snow machiner, enjoying her passion for the outdoors with her husband and child. Her love for animals is undeniable, and in her downtime, she ventures into the delightful worlds of baking, writing, and floral design. With every seed she plants, Jennifer continues to sow the future of sustainable gardening.
Nick is a lifelong Alaskan living in Anchorage with his wife, dog, cat, chickens, worms, and (most recent addition) bees. Nick spent the last 5 years coordinating Alaska Community Action on Toxics organic gardening program, Yarducopia, where he helps local gardeners and growers access to land, resources, and volunteer labor.
Alaska Farmers Union
Rob Wells came to Alaska in 1960 with his family. He and a group of four friends purchased an 80-acre agriculture parcel in Fishhook in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough in 1977. He now lives on 40 acres of it and has farmed continuously since its purchase. He graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage with a degree in economics and served as the state’s Director of Agriculture and as an assembly and school board member in the Mat-Su Borough. He was a part-owner of Matanuska Creamery and now is the owner of Hatcher Pass Dahlias. He is the current president of the Alaska Farmers Union and serves on the board of Hatcher Alpine Xperience (Skeetawk).