(Or maybe just Leeds Veg Fest for ease)
Arriving around midday (to allow for a lazy Sunday lay in, of course), we were greeted by an endless line flowing down the street and out of sight. Combating queue grumpiness was the excitement of seeing so many veggies in one place! …
I can’t move!
Ten minutes later we were in and, honestly, a little crushed! After being in the enormous Olympia at Vegfest London, I wondered whether Leeds City Hall would be up to the task. The North doesn’t have the amount of vegans the South does, right? Wrong! Going by this event, the North is bursting with veggie and veg-curious people – an Olympian sized venue would have been welcome!
We shuffled into the main hall, and were greeted by people practising yoga on the main platform above the clamour of the stalls. The entirety of the basement was decorated with weird fake trees and dedicated to food of all kinds and cultures, the ground floor a mix of more food, large-scale demos, cosmetics, fashion, ethical crafts and a Kid’s Space. The quieter upstairs hosted talks such as But Where Do You Get Your Protein (best name for a talk ever) and some yoga sessions for those in need of some peace.
Despite the rush, it was satisfying to be in a majority for once, feeling comfort from literally being surrounded by people just as passionate and excitable as me.
Activism Passion & Documentary: ‘Vegan Rage’
Originally I had meant to go to an activism talk given by blogger Rehana Sara Jomeen but, on arriving, I found the room completely packed and so I wandered into a documentary screening instead. An hour later, I’m full of anger, bursting with purpose, and feeling a powerful vibe in the room as we listened to Viva’s Justin Kerswell speak about the looming antibiotic apocalypse and the treatment of animals in UK farms.
Though ‘vegan rage’ can sound a little intense, being angry in the right way is an amazing motivator, a way to drive us all forward together to create positive change.
The different talks ranged from 10 Steps to Going Vegan for the veg-curious to Speed Dating (I was tempted to try this out, but got scared and ran away before 4pm came!)
I don’t have to read the ingredients, yessssss!
Hands down, the best part of any Vegan Festival for me is the foooooood. I only ever make it to about one event or talk because I’m spending the rest of the time scouting out the best eats and stuffing my face. Every. Single. Time. I carried on my veg festival tradition of finding the biggest burger I could, and succeeded in eating this Green Guerrilla burger, adding facon, smoked violife, and tomato relish.
One delighted and surprised meat eater was heard to exclaim…
That was fantastic!!– John the Omnivore, Leeds
after devouring his pesto burger faster than I ate mine. Simple, yet accurate feedback.
I bought a ton of cake, cookies, baklava, and my favourite Ananda’s Wagon Wheels and ate nearly all of it as soon as I got home. I only regret not buying more.
The Veggie Family
Vendors from all over the country sold their handmade vegan treats, and it’s important to acknowledge the realness of the people there. Everybody is honestly just so bloody nice and genuine. Two proud parents manned their son’s Uncaptive clothing business as he grabbed a bite to eat, and we chatted happily until he got back with the card reader. The BCM founder told me of her years and years-long journey in getting to this amazing point in her cosmetics business, and I bumped into Makeup Without Malice founder, Becca, whom I know from living down south -it’s a small veggie world.
Despite being a ‘Vegan Festival’, the place had a ‘welcome everybody’ feel, with talks for vegans but also spaces and information for people who hadn’t taken the leap just yet. It felt like the perfect balance.
For anybody Leeds-based who missed this, don’t worry! This Sunday (4th December 2016) there will be the Veg Out Christmas Market – a celebration of Vegetarian and Vegan food – at Sheaf St Cafeteria. Maybe I’ll see you there! 🙂#Leeds #vegout #Christmas #market is this Sunday- who wants to go? Click To Tweet
If you head to any awesome events, gatherings, festivals, retreats, any where fun let us know if you’d like to guest blog! And stay in touch @veopolis on twitter, instagram, facebook!