Vegan Festival is back on 26 October and the operators – themselves hardcore vegans – want you to indulge your interest in eating less meat at their two-day festival of all things plant-based and animal-free.
Are you v-curious?
“I could call you a carnist murderer,” says Vegan Festival organiser Lea McBride. “But what’s that going to do to further a conversation or win you over to my cause?”
CityMag is sitting with Lea and Vegan Festival stallholder Anastasia Lavrentiadis on Grenfell Street, out front of Anastasia’s recently opened Staazi and Co. Greek Vegan Project bricks-and-mortar store. We’re halfway through our interview when Lea hits us with the whole ‘carnist murderer’ label.
Anastasia spent a year transitioning from vegetarianism to veganism.
“I’m Greek, I’m from a Greek family,” says Anastasia. “And I had to tell them that I couldn’t do Christmas with them anymore. I get physically sick – I feel unwell emotionally – when I’m around meat, it’s full on and I needed to tell them that if they wanted to have me at Christmas we’d have to change.”
This – of course – is a huge deal.
Everyone knows how big a role charcoal-cooked meat and fish plays at Greek family gatherings, and here’s Anastasia saying she can’t do it anymore. Anastasia says it was really hard for her family, but they did it last year. Last year Anastasia and her family did vegan Christmas!
Adelaide’s Vegan Festival has grown and grown in its short history. This year Lea and the organisers are relocating the festival to Kadlitpina Rundle Park on East Terrace to accommodate more stallholders and more crowds.
“Veganism is booming,” says Lea. “It’s growing and growing and I just love seeing big companies, big brands bringing out vegan-friendly products, from things you wear and put on your body right down to the life-giving stuff you put in your mouth.
“Even at Price Attack, they’ve got so many vegan shampoos and they’ll advertise it on the shelves, which is just exciting. We do focus on the food, but there are so many daily products, cleaning products – everything that you can think of – and it’s change through your dollar.”
Vegan Festival is South Australia’s largest celebration of all things vegan and will house 80-odd stalls and vendors demonstrating the greatly improved variety and quality of vegan products.
“Australia is the third fastest growing vegan market in the world,” says Lea.
At the recent 165th birthday celebration for Balfours Lea attended recently, she noticed almost everyone she introduced herself to would respond the same.
“Everyone I met would start their sentence the same way, ‘I’m not vegan but…’ and they were saying that they always try the new vegan pizza from Domino’s or the new vegan pie from Balfours,” says Lea. “The overall picture I got was all these people were trying it, they were all curious – or v-curious as I like to call it.”
We all have a chuckle at Lea’s phrase. V-curious. It’s funny because it’s true.
Global spokesperson for the Vegan movement, James Aspey, will inspire and entertain as Vegan Fest’s MC across the weekend, and you can expect a range of stimulating as well as entertaining speakers across the fully-booked weekend.
We see it here at CityMag in the articles we publish on the subject. Vegan stories do really well. Even at home, both editors of CityMag are eating less meat, refilling our shampoo and conditioner bottles at Ecolateral, and generally trying not to live off the death of things.
Anastasia and Lea are hardcore vegans. Each of them are activists and are living every day to push society towards a sustainable, compassionate plant-based lifestyle. They are also happy to see one dish on a menu be labeled vegan-friendly.
Vegan Festival is about indulging people’s curiosity about the growing global veganism movement and eating delicious things until the cows come home (safe and sound).