Monday, 26 October 2015

Kent Vegan Festival 2015

The Kent Vegan Festival has landed! Organised by Jo Kidd of the Abbots Mill Project and a team of others, this one-day festival's aim is to 'raise awareness about veganism as a holistic, healthy, environmentally sustainable and intrinsically non-violent way of life' in an inclusive and welcoming way. Well.. with over 1500 people through the door, I'd say it did a cracking job!

It was so busy that when we arrived there was a one-in one-out system in place and the queue snaked around the building towards the high street. It was exciting to see so many veggies in one place, Nick and I sometimes feel a bit alone in our pursuit of the vegan lifestyle. Being together with so many people that eat the same stuff as us was such a lovely feeling.

Passers-by stopped to see what was going on as a live band played in the car park to the front of the building, and all around us were excited people of all ages and appearances, rebutting the myth that vegans are hemp-wearing hippies (although there were a representative amount of those, too). Stood behind us in the queue for example, was a smart, middle-aged couple. The lady wore a white faux-fur coat and patent heels, and I overheard her talking about not having eaten a sausage roll for 21 years. A few minutes later a dreadlocked couple wandered past to watch the band, the man with a tiny baby snuggled beneath his baggy, multi-coloured knitted jumper.

You see, veganism doesn't discriminate! I'm not saying it's always easy in this meat and dairy fuelled society, but it is easier than ever before and only getting better (cue D:Ream). Anyone can choose the compassionate path at any stage in their life, it's not like The Vegans will turn you away because you used to love a bacon sarnie (we've all been there, well, a lot of us anyway). It's not a special club reserved for animal rights activists or protesters. Or hippies. Or 'clean eaters'. It's a special type of activism that's quiet and personal and massive and will make you feel... well... good. 

St Peter's Methodist Church hall looked tiny under the weight of the crowd, and it was difficult to look at the stalls as people 'sorried' and 'scuse meed' round the room. There was no less than four vegan bakery stalls (we bought from two!) and the food hatch had a huge line of hungry lunchtimers waiting for grub.

We grabbed leaflets as we pigeon-stepped past each stall, it was so busy and hot and I had envisaged striking up conversations with stall holders and other visitors. By the time we reached the queue for the food hatch we were so hungry and Archie was not in the most patient of moods. Having seen a bit of everything, we hot-footed it to The Veg Box Café instead, where Nick had a delicious burger and chunky chips and I enjoyed a Bhudda Bowl which - despite being different each time I visit - is one of my favourite things in the whole world.

All together I'd say the first Kent Vegan Festival was a resounding success, with hundreds of vegans flooding to the tiny hall to see what they could get their hands on. I sincerely hope it makes a return in 2016, but at a much bigger venue. Bring it on!

If you'd like to know more about veganism, take a look at this or get in touch!

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