Members Weekly 

Do you still go to your local vegan events?

Do you remember how excited you’d get by a vegan event when you first went vegan? Remember how you would drive for hours, or get two trains and a bus, just to spend forty-minutes looking around some stalls selling vegan food and cruelty-free products?

Now that you can buy a vegan food in almost any shop and even the supermarkets are selling vegan shoes, you might not get as excited when the local vegan fair comes to town. But these events aren’t just about giving small businesses an outlet, they are hugely important gateways on someone’s vegan journey.

Lisa and I took our one-year-old daughter Awen to York Vegan Festival last weekend (photo above) and it was rammed-full. We had a great time eating the food, catching up with some old friends and even bumping into a couple of Vegan Business Tribe members. But I was also interested to see how many people were taking the 3-minute video challenge on the ‘We The Free’ stall.

If you haven’t come across We The Free before, in return for a fun incentive (such as a vegan donut or piece of merch) you are challenged to watch a 3-minute micro-documentary showing the reality of animal agriculture. It’s not an easy film to watch, especially at an event where I suspect most people had come for the cake and cool t-shirts. But if someone embarks on a vegan lifestyle without making the ethical connection, then there’s a high chance they won’t stay vegan: go vegan for the cake, stay vegan for the animals.

This is why these local events are so important and why we need to continually support them with our presence. I know a lot of new vegans walked away from that challenge realising they were only at the beginning of their journey. Just like myself and Lisa realised when we went to our first local vegan fair and heard our (now) good friend John Awen talk about how just going vegan wasn’t enough. That talk had such an impact on us that we named our daughter after him.

But, of course, we were there for the cake too! In fact, our daughter Awen managed to grab a piece of our vegan fudge when I had my hands full and we’re still laughing about the look of wonder on her face at her first experience of refined sugar!

We’re planning to be at more of our local events and have even planned a couple of road trips to string together a couple of vegan fairs further afield. And although you’ll never capture the early magic of going to your first vegan events, just being there and making sure they continue is as much an act of animal rights activism as anything else you can do.

David 💚🌱

David’s thoughts from the week, published every weekend for members only.

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