When my local council in Bury said I could gain permission for a vegan street stand to be set up, I decided to go for it, I had been asking for a while and wasn’t sure how long it would be before the space was available again. So I obtained a wallpaper pasting table and set off for a day spreading the vegan message in the meat eating capital of the North West.
I would like to give thanks to Bute Island Sheese for providing samples, V-Bites foods for being so helpful and supportive and also providing samples of their delicious pepperoni, ham, sausage and pate. Moo Free chocolate who made our ‘goody bags’ extra special, Peta for providing vegan starter kits and Viva for supplying No more excuses leaflets and recipe cards.
It was a successful day and like at any public event or street collection, one of the amazing things was the huge variety of people we managed to talk to. The diverse mix of people (especially in what is a rather small town on the outskirts of Manchester) that we reached was outstanding. From people whose grandchildren were vegetarian, to die hard meat eaters, pescetarians and other vegans, there was certainly a mix. That is just diet and lifestyle wise of course but we also spoke to a wide variety of age groups from older people on their way back from a pilgrimage to the markets, to teenagers, and even fussy children with their parents. When reflecting on the day, I noticed that their were a wide variety of reasons to avoid meat- Health, Cost, Religion, The environment and compassion being the most common, but also a wide variety of reasons to avoid dairy- Health- IBS, calcium issues, migraines and intolerances, Religion, the environment and obviously compassionate reasons. I was told by a cheese connoisseur that Sheese was a similar standard to many of the cheeses they tried on the Bury Market (I know it is an acquired taste) and a little boy who ‘Wouldn’t like it because he doesn’t even like real meat’ loved the VegiDeli pepperoni so do remember all the excellent substitutes on the market. If like one gentleman you feel ‘You would rather just eat vegetables’ then do just that! you can eat a nourishing plant based diet consisting of legumes, vegetables and grains without your health or taste buds suffering. I love mock meat but nothing beats a vibrant veggie curry, lentil soup, or a salad and hummus sandwich sometimes. Hopefully some of those people who showed a real interest will take the plunge and some of the skeptics will think before they eat and then have a dabble when they feel ready.
Remember to be vegan is not a DIET although I am super happy if someone changes to a vegetarian or plant based diet to change weight or battle an illness, to be a vegan is a term usually reserved for those who are living that lifestyle due to the environment or the animals. By Vegan Society standards to be vegan is to do your best to obtain from using animal products- no leather, no fur, no animal tested cosmetics- no cruelty. Although some vegans transition diet wise first and then become vegan for the animals, someone going vegan for a quick fix might prefer the term Plant Based Diet- unlike a vegetarian someone on a plant based diet is usually less concerned with things like fish oils and gelatin which obviously vegetarian diets cant have.
If you want to look into a vegan lifestyle choice then you can order a free vegan starter kit below, or if you want to have more meat free recipes in your day to day diet then order one anyway because hey!, its free.
If you would like to find out more about V-Bites foods and Vbites cafe owned by Heather Mills then follow this link for the pre- prepared food http://www.vbitesfoods.com/
and this one for the cafe- http://www.vbites.com/
Lastly I would like to thank Deborah who writes the twitter and social media accounts for Vegan Manchester, social group for the vegan friendly, Therese from Bolton Vegetarians, Vegans and Animal rights group and Huw who is a member of Manchester Vegetarian and Vegan group despite being from wales! and who is also doing a vegan society for Cambridge University. Without volunteers and my lovely mother helping out, this stand would not have gone ahead and those people we spoke to would not be owners of vegan cookbooks and literature so well done and thanks so much for helping me make a difference. xx
Thanks for reading