vegfest

VegFest London's huge crowd

If you think the vegan movement is a small part of the city, you clearly haven’t attended VegFest London.

VegFest 2016 was held last Saturday at the Western Fair District in London. With over 120 vendors and around 7,000 attendees, the event was a huge success, according to Brittany Bragg, graphic designer for VegFest London.

“We had about 1,000 people in within the first 15 minutes,” Bragg says.

Now in its third year, the festival is a celebration of the growing vegan community with the mission of “growing compassion and community, while eating a whole lot of plants,” according to VegFest website.

“We've got a lot of more interactive activities for people to get into the spirit of VegFest,” says Bragg. “Then the food is always the biggest hit. We've got over 40 food vendors this year.”

The event’s size and features depend on donations and sponsorships. This year's newly added lounge, dining area, photo booth and more are courtesy of London-based businesses such as the Boombox Bakeshop, Plant Matter Kitchen and Booch.

Globally Local had large crowds of people come by their booth to get information on all the vegan products and services they offer and learn about when they can enjoy their newly opened McVegan food truck which is on campus on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Globally Local staff member Jenna Miller, who works in shipping and development, explains that the business has a storefront, but mostly does online orders

“We also sell meal kits: basically all the ingredients you would need, pre-measured, to come home and cook, shipped to your door," she said. 

Navigation from one booth to the next was difficult since the area was absolutely packed with people. 

London's Glassroots restaurant's booth had a consistently long line and cooked almost nonstop for the first few hours. Nuts for Cheese, which makes vegan cheeses from cashews, also saw people crowded around its booth. 

Beyond the food attractions, there were a number of other vendors present as well. 

“There are lot of products that goes along with the vegan lifestyle that's either health-minded or eco-friendly,” says Braggs. “We've got a lot of farm sanctuaries and animal rescue groups, so if people want to learn about the activism side of veganism, then they have a lot of opportunities and resources to reach out to.”

Kaleigh Schmidt, a 22-year-old vegan attendee, said her favourite booths were Wild Craft Permaculture — a sustainable gardening education service — and Glassroots.

Between all the vendors at the event and its attendance, it’s no surprise that the vegan community in London is more noticeable than ever.

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Ellis is a Culture Editor for Volume 110 of the Gazette. He is a fourth-year Sociology student intent on pursuing a career in journalism. If you wish to reach Ellis, email him at ellis@westerngazette.ca

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