Vegan Outreach Festival

Sonny Drake contributed to this report.

Despite winter appearing early, uninvited and leaving everyone damp and cold, the Drill Hall was filled to the brim this Saturday, 12 October. 


Vegan Outreach Festival Photo: Rain Reach

Visitors from across the region gathered to check out the East Midlands Vegan Outreach Festival, now in Lincoln for the first time.

Despite worries that the new, less central, location would put visitors off, the main hall was buzzing all day as both the converted and the curious browsed the stalls on offer.

The different foodstuffs on display definitely showed just how interesting some of the vegan alternatives are. The stalls ranged from snacks to shoes, meal ideas to make-up products; and the event showcases just how much anyone can do to live ethically.

Most of the stalls were dedicated purely to covering the politics and ethics of ‘veganism’. But on the whole the festival was programmed to be fun and accessible for all ages, and, importantly, for non-vegans as much as vegans. The atmosphere was open and inviting, the volunteers and vendors happy to talk about ‘veganism’ and the positives of the lifestyle.

At the Vegan Outreach stall Ronnie Lee, a major figure in the UK animal rights movement, says that they hope to offer a ‘helping hand’ to those considering ‘veganism’ and adds that it isn’t as hard as it seems.

Another stallholder offered a wide range of samples of vegan foods and soy milk drinks, displaying just how many alternatives are available in supermarkets. “Many non-vegans are even buying these products to benefit their health.” She says.

Ruth Dredge, the events organiser, spoke about her hopes for what the festival can achieve: “We hope the people will go away and, if they’re not vegan, consider veganism.

“Hopefully they will consider the ethics behind it and get some information, and if they are vegan we hope they had a really nice day and got to meet other vegans.

“Sometimes being vegan can feel a little lonely.” Ruth says.

The community feel is an important part of the Outreach festival and they hope to welcome more students from UK Universities. She adds that a lot of vegan food is really cheap so will appeal to students. “A lot of people think you have to live on meat substitutes which are really expensive.

“But I would suggest actually buying grains, pulses, beans, legumes, and get as much fruit and vegetables as you can afford. These will give you loads of protein and plenty of vitamins. It’s a really varied diet”

She also draws attention to the support offered by the Vegan Outreach Lincoln and East Midlands group which can be found on Facebook and offers guidance and friendship for those starting out.

As to the question of whether veganism has become ‘trendy’, Ruth isn’t so sure. “I think the plant-based diet has become trendy – people like Bill Clinton will say ‘I’m vegan most of the time’ or ‘I eat a plant-based diet’ but they’re not really vegan.”

She elaborates on this, pointing out that true Veganism is “an ethics system which means we want to avoid unnecessary suffering to other animals.” This extends further than simply diet and excludes the wearing of animal products.

Ruth believes it’s great because the more people eat non-animal products, the less suffering there will be. She closes reiterating that she wants people to take away from the event the ethics behind veganism. With the event such an apparent success, maybe her wish will indeed be granted.

Before you go, here is a simple, vegan-friendly recipe for some delicious brownies:


Vegan Brownies Photo: Caya O

Vegan Brownies

Ingredients:

250g Plain Flour

350g Demerara (brown) sugar

65g Plain Cocoa Powder

1 tea-spoon Baking Powder

1 tea-spoon Salt

250ml Water

200ml Olive oil

1 tea-spoon Vanilla Extract

You will also need a square baking tray roughly 23x33cm

Method:

1.       Preheat oven to 180c.

2.       Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.

3.       Pour in the water, oil and vanilla extract and mix well.

4.       Put mixture into a square baking tin.

5.       Bake for 25-30 minutes until top is no longer shiny. Leave a little longer you prefer them less gooey.

6.       Cool for ten minutes and cut into squares.

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