Kent Vegan Festival continues to grow!

Following the fantastic success of the Vegan Festival back in May, the people behind it have big plans for making Vegan much more than just an annual festival.

As well as the annual Vegan Festival, (read our post about it here: https://www.communityad.co.uk/kent-vegan-festival-2018-returns-canterbury) they also currently run monthly ethical, eco, inter-sectional, vegan markets.

The next one of these is on July 1st, August 5th and September 2nd and will be held in North Lane in Canterbury. Please see their page https://www.facebook.com/events/288872614988361/ for more information and further dates.

Vegan Festival

We caught up with Jo from the team to discuss how things are going.

Were you surprised by how popular the festival was?

Very happy, inspired and uplifted but not really surprised (for reasons outlined below).

What is the usual reaction from the public?

Generally, very positive these days, people are interested, curious, keen to find out more. The City Council, Canterbury BID, local businesses and other community groups have also been really supportive.

Why do you think it is important to have more vegan food available?

Veganism has surged in the past 10 years – in the UK up 360% between 2006-16 and a further 700% over the past two years. People are waking up to the realities of animal agriculture and the other ways we exploit and cause untold suffering to other animals. The market is about all aspects of veganism not just diet. It is recognising the emerging consciousness at the same time as raising awareness and encouraging more people to go vegan.

How has the festival evolved since it first begun?

We have grown in size and scope each year. First year in St. Peter’s Methodist Church Hall, years 2 and 3 in Westgate Hall and this year (and next) at Canterbury college. The number of visitors, stallholders, performers and speakers has increased each year. We have continued to increase the variety of stalls and themes that speakers cover. We have been particularly keen to improve and expand the children’s area and educational aspects. We did not want the festival to just be a food fair or all about shopping (although it is very exciting for vegans and the vegan-curious to be able to find out about new products and try new things).

Why do you include poetry and music & comedy to your events?

As above – we don’t want the festival to be just a shopping experience. We want a festival atmosphere – celebrating all that is vegan in all its facets – lifting people’s spirits, celebrating progress made and also inspiring and encouraging so that we continue to grow as a movement and reach more people, for the benefit of the animals, humans and the planet.

What does the future hold for the Kent Vegan festival?

We are in the process of setting up Kent Vegan Events, of which the festival, market, comedy nights and other events will all be part.

Animal Aid is still running its Summer Pledge I believe – so people can get advice and support to be vegan through signing up to that.

Also, my family and I are just setting up a veganic (vegan, organic) farm near Faversham.

Veganic farming or growing broadly means any system of cultivation that excludes artificial chemicals, animal manures, animal remains from slaughterhouses, genetically modified material and, indeed, anything of animal origin such as fish and bone-meal.

Many people do not realise that commercial (and much non-commercial) organic farming still uses chemicals as well as the by-products of animal farming.

Veganic farming and growing provides clean, green, cruelty-free food and other raw materials.

We would like to grow a wide variety of vegetables, fruit and nuts. We are also planning on trialling a variety of unusual and heritage crops. In our first year we will be planting a native tree hedge, building a barn with low impact building techniques (including using wood from nearby poplar trees and, also chestnut from our own woodland), sowing nitrogen-fixing plants to improve the soil quality and provide green manure and developing our composting system.

Our ultimate aim is to sell fruit, vegetables, nuts and grains to the surging vegan retail and catering sector in East Kent. We may also run a stall at local farmers’ markets and possibly a veg box scheme for local people. We would also like to offer training, volunteering and working opportunities to local people, students and those disadvantaged in the labour market and are working with several other social enterprises to enable that to happen. You can follow our story on Facebook and Instagram here:

www.facebook.com/VeganOrganicsKent

 

And lastly how can people get involved with the markets & events?

Contact us via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or email  [email protected]

Kent Vegan Festival is 100% Vegan and as such has certain ethical rules for its events:
  • No single-use plastic, including bio-plastics which still contain a % of petroleum-derived plastic,
  • Only organic palm oil (for margarine, that includes Suma and Biona – or simply replace with organic coconut oil).
  • Only fairly-traded ingredients/raw materials (where appropriate – i.e. that applies to all products which are sourced from economically-exploited (so-called ‘developing’) countries, including sugar, tea, coffee, cacao, tropical fruit, nuts, cotton etc).
  • No ‘accidentally vegan’ products which have the labelling ‘may contain traces of milk, eggs etc’ as this means that they will most certainly contain non-vegan ingredients and are made by companies which profit from the exploitation of animals.
  • No products from companies included on the Ethical Consumer Boycott list (http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/boycotts/boycottslist.aspx) – or from companies which otherwise exploit animals (including humans) or harm the Earth. For example, Nestle, Unilever, Coca Cola, PepsiCo, Kraft, Mars, Mondelez, any agrochemical or biotech company or any pharmaceutical company.
  • No diesel generators or gas cylinders.

If you want to find out more their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/KentVeganFestival/ is full of videos and information, as well as their website: https://kentveganfestival.org/

 

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