Veggie World London 2017

Miss my mom by Chantal Poulin Durocher-veggie world
Miss my mom by Chantal Poulin Durocher

One of the best ways of exploring the cruelty-free approach to life is by attending vegan events and meeting fellow animal lovers. Of course you do not have to be vegan or even vegetarian to attend such a festival. If you wish to take part in a new kind of social event, discover  more ethical companies, directly talk to charities or eat some delish plant based food, you are more than welcome to come along.

What is Veggie World?

Veggie world 2017 in Kensington, London was by far the best vegan event I have attended. There was plenty of food, tens of stalls, talks and workshops. An art exhibition promoting the “Art of Compassion project” was an amazing creative addition.
It has been founded by the the ProVeg organisation which originates from Germany. The aim of the organisation is to connect vegan companies all over the world to make a bigger and better impact. As explained by Jimmy Pierson in the “Making a global movement” talk – one of the mistakes organisations make is the lack of collaboration with other companies. Joint effort and multiple minds can reach wider audience and be more influential. We are trying to spread the message after all.
The Veggie World event in London was the in fact the launch of ProVeg and if you ask me, I foresee a bright future ahead for them. These events will be ran in multiple countries this year including Poland, Spain, Germany or France.


What was happening?

Similar to any other social event, there were plenty of stalls from business promoting vegan, cruelty-free, organic or environmentally friendly products. Alongside these, there were representatives from various animal charities or sanctuaries. Lectures, workshops and demos were in place to help people of different interests. Some were looking to grow a vegan business others for cruelty-free lifestyle tips. There were many various exhibitors and speakers, so I will just outline the ones that stood out to me the most. Check out the Veggie World website for a complete list of activities.

Charities & Businesses

One of the main organisations I was impressed with was Sea Shepherds Conversations Society which I have come across previously but never dwelled into the subject deeper. It’s an amazing non-profit organization which aims to help the marine wildlife and has been doing so for the last 40 years. After speaking to one of their representatives I found that all their ships successfully repel illegal fishing boats and all the crews are 100% vegan. Their main mission at the moment is to save highly endangered vaquita dolphins which are actually the smallest breed of dolphins that exist.

Due to my techy background, I can’t not mention the iAnimal project which I hugely supported since the first time I saw it on a Vegan festival in Maidstone last summer. Animal Equality is an animal protection organisation and a mother of the iAnimal project. The project uses virtual reality goggles which put you in a position of a farmed animal. The purpose is to show to the viewer, the environment and the surroundings from a pig’s or a cow’s perspective at a 360 angle.  It’s a video every carnivore should watch.

animal Equality iAnimal - veggie World 2017

To my absolute delight, there was a stand with products from Pacifica – a beauty and skincare company. I’ve been watching them on Instagram for a very long time but for some reason I never purchased any of their products yet. Up until now. I couldn’t just walk past, could I, right? Their products aren’t the cheapest even after the discount they offered, but I decided to buy a perfume oil considering how difficult it is to buy vegan perfume. Thanks to a lovely Algerian sales man, my friend and I received 2 free hand creams. It turned out to be a very good deal in the end.

Pacifica perfume - veggie world 2017

Speaking of skincare, I discovered a new, start up company called IUVO. Owned by a cute older couple from Birmingham. The products are made of natural ingredients, some in minimalist, simple, eco packaging. My eyes were attracted to them by the bath bombs but I also purchased an Orange scented perfume oil and natural, lemon grass deodorant. The bath bomb already underwent some testing and its without a doubt the best bath bomb I used so far. Apart from the oil that was released into the water,  the smell of natural orange was so beautiful and refreshing.

Continuing the subject of ecological packaging, there was a french company called Lamazuna which produces cruelty free, reusable hygiene products in minimalist wrapping. One of the products I struggled to recognize was a reusable ear bud. It looks like a wooden stick with a ball attached to it on a string. I can only guess how it works but the idea is great. 2 of their products were quite appealing to me which I ended up purchasing. Reusable make up removing microfibre pads to be used instead of cotton pads and a toothpaste on a stick. It looks like a lollipop and and is much more environmentally friendly than standard toothpaste tubes.

To add to the ecological topic, I was hugely surprised when I saw something that looked like a leather belt. I thought – What on earth is this doing here? It was a great relief to find that the belts and other products such as jewelry or hair accessories were in fact made of recycled car tyres. Deary me, they looked like genuine leather. The quality of these belts was amazing and solid. No surprise here considering how tough car tyres must be. On top of all this, each item was handmade by Laura from Laura ZABO. Big applaud.
As opposed to accessories made of synthetic rubber, one of the stalls promoted recycled as well as natural wearables. Trainers made of plastic bottles, shoes made of hemp and socks based on bamboo fibers. All fully customizable to your preferences. The only downside is the price which was pretty high to say the least. In some cases, being eco can be costly.

Talks, workshops and demos

Melanie Joy is a social psychologist and author of several books that speak for vegan activism. She came up with the theory of carnism which explains why we eat some animals but not others. In a nutshell it’s an ideology or a dominant set of beliefs which act a base of many societies, including ours. (Stay tuned for a post on carnism soon) Having an opportunity of meeting her was a great privilege and listening to her for ~40mins has already had some impact on my approach to other people.

“Understanding the psychology of meat eating for better animal advocacy” was the subject of her presentation which helped me understand why some people are oblivious to animal suffering and some aren’t. Her talk left me inspired and full of topics I knew I have to think about when I get back home. Knowing that I want to speak up for animals and help end their suffering, learning what drives people (and used to drive me) to have a complete opposite view on animals was hugely beneficial.
She reassured us that although people portray vegans as grass eating zombies, there is no such thing as a perfect vegan. Everyone can always try to be as vegan as possible. That is already a helpful step forward.

As I mentioned in the beginning of the post, Jimmy Pierson who is a representative of ProVeg, talked about making a global movement. It can be concluded that people can make a much bigger impact when they collaborate. There already is a massive vegan community all around the world as more people are becoming aware of the truth behind animal agriculture. In turn, there are many charities, organisations and businesses promoting the cruelty-free and compassionate lifestyle. By uniting these organisations together and allowing them to collaborate, the end-result can be even greater.

You probably have heard of Veganuary before but if you have not, its an idea of going vegan for just 1 month of January.  I thought this is just and idea with not much action behind it. Oh how wrong I was. One of the talks I attended was on “Creating future vegans with kindness” ran by Clea Grady – one of the people behind the Veganuary event.  She talked about her own experiences of being vegetarian for 22 years and vegan for the last 3. She emphasized how kindness has a much better impact than aggression. As much as we sometimes want to shout in someones face how heartless they are, apparently it’s not the best approach. Based on the facts and figures she showed us, this theory seems to be true.
I was surprised to find that Veganuary is a charity and provides support to all people that sign up to the event. You’re not left alone where you have to figure out what on earth you’re meant to eat and do. Emails and updates are an inevitable part of making the vegan month easier. The management team is there for support too.

Out of the 2 veggie world days, I only attended 1 an decided to go to 3 talks in that day. The yoga workshop got me super excited but it clashed with Melanie’s talk so I had to make a decision. Nevertheless, the were several workshops that many people attended. 2 yoga sessions, business workshops or cookery demos. Other talks on various topics such as weight management, politics and the planet, vegan activism, water and many panel discussions which were more interactive.

Food..lots of it

Numero uno – chocolate and cakes. The food section was the very first area you’d see and it was full of choice. Among salads, breads, burgers and other hot food I paid the most attention to the cakes. Just look at them. I couldn’t help myself from having one, a not so little chocolate slice.

cakes - veggie world 2017

After exploring the ground floor, we headed upstairs to our first talk where we discovered even more stands. Apart from the Sea Shepherds it was full of food.  Jamaican, Chinese, American, Italian, you name it. It was there. As we spent almost the whole day there we thought we should probably have some lunch.  I chose something I have never eaten before – a weed burger. It didn’t taste like weed and if the bun wasn’t green I probably wouldn’t notice any difference. A seitan burger was also a new discovery to me as I normally go for a a bean patty. It suspiciously resembled meat. Recommended.weed burger - veggie world 2017

What kind of shopper would I be if I didn’t buy any takeaway vegan edible bits. To my surprise the vegan bacon I bought disappeared from our fridge within a couple of days, not because of me. Bear in mind, I am the only vegetarian in the house. I guess Moodley Manor did a pretty good job. Additionally, out of all the vegan mayos I have tired so far, theirs is the most tasty – in my humble opinion.

Art of Compassion exhibition

One of my biggest interests – Art. No wonder why I loved this part of the Veggie World despite the fact that some of the pieces brought a tear to my eye. To some, the illustrations and paintings can be big eye openers and a very clever way of grabbing attention. The Art of Compassion project involves vegan artists from all around the world to bring funds to animal organisations and open people’s hearts by running various art projects worldwide. It’s an amazing initiative and I really hope to take part in it one day myself. After all art has a different, special way of ‘talking’ to people.

“It seems that the fate of many animals is either to be unwanted by man or wanted to much…”

Collage of the some of the pieces from the "Art of compassion" project
Collage of some of the pieces from the “Art of compassion” project