I ventured out with the family today to what I believe was Edinburgh's first ever Vegan Festival, and I have to say that although it had it faults we had a great time. The first thing to mention is how busy it was, the hotel function room venue was absolutely mobbed out, there must have been thousands through the door, and it was fantastic to see so much interest from the people of Edinburgh in veganism! The down side of this of course was that there were massive queues to get in, with some people waiting over an hour to be admitted, the hot food stalls running out of produce, and again long queues to get what little there was available. There was a tremendous selection of cakes and confectionery, some being of a much higher standard than others (special mention to the awesome Missy's Vegan Cupcakes, was great to get some of their legendary tiffin to take home again), but not many savory items, or indeed 'healthy' items and this lack of a health focus was something that I felt was really missing from the day. While I certainly not against vegan cakes, if you had come to this event as a new vegan or someone who was interested in the vegan diet you might have left think all vegans eat is expensive chocolates! There were many stalls from animal charities and vegan groups (though I don't think the vegan society themselves were present?) and a few stalls with 'alternative' health products. In addition to stuff to spend money on there was also several talks on vegan issues, though the one we attended felt a bit more like a sales seminar for essential oils.
|cool posters for quick reference and educating |
the wee one later on - £2 each
We had a good time, chatting with friends and sampling a lot of chocolates, cakes and sweets we could never justify buying ( too expensive or you could make em at home yerself easy enough) but I left a little deflated that there had not been more of a focus on why veganism is such a positive lifestyle choice both for yourself and the planet, and that it is not in the slightest (as one flyer I saw suggested) difficult. Cooking demonstrations and weekly meal plans? What to buy and where? Free nutritional and dietary advice? vegetable/salad tasters? Recipe swap workshops? All simple positive activities that would have made the day feel a bit more like a celebration and a bit less like a pricey bakesale.
Glasgow has an enormous vegan festival planned for December, hopefully the bigger size will allow for a it more of the above and not just facilitate more bespoke cupcake consumption :)
I. looking for the festivals website led me to discover that Samuel 'Mr Cool' L Jackson is vegan, motherfucker!
II. The most interesting person I met today was definately 'Psycho Syd' who was selling coffee from Laos, both to drink there and ground to take home, who told me he had been diagnosed with cancer, 6 months to live, turned vegan and was still kicking 3 years later. He's got a book coming out with the whole story and I have to admit I'm tempted to hear his tale - www.thedeathandlifeofpsychosyd.com