On Saturday, April 9th, Belfast will host its first Irish Vegan Festival. I’ll drive there with two friends not just to support the event but also because I’ll be speaking at it. Yes, that’s correct, this year I’ll be speaking in as many festivals as possible. My talk is about Raising a Vegan Child, supporting our Vegan Families page here, and it will be at 3pm.
To get to know a bit more the festival, I’ve spoken to Gareth, the man behind the Irish Vegan Festival:
How the idea of Irish Vegan Festival was born?
We have organised a North East festival for 3 years now and some friends asked us if we would consider one in Belfast. With the experience we have we decided to go for it. We looked into a few venues and the Ulster Hall was the most accommodating of our needs.
Why “Irish Vegan Festival” when it happens in Belfast?
We have the Scottish and Welsh Vegan Festivals and this matches. We also want to be able to consider more locations as well as Belfast in the future as in our North East Vegan Festival we now run in both Sunderland and Newcastle. We may want to have multiple locations in the year and this name future proofs it. With veganism growing we may have a whole series of Irish Vegan Festivals in a few years time. Already for 2017 we are needing a much bigger venue.
What are the main goals of promoting a vegan festival in Northern Ireland?
To promote veganism as an ethical choice that both helps animals and the planet. As any profits benefit the charity and we help animals in the most need from across the UK and Ireland it will also help animals we rescue. Finally we are launching our #talktomeimvegan campaign on the day here to encourage more people to talk about why they choose veganism. The buzz we have created is amazing and we are so looking forward to the festival. Our love of animals is our starting point and this has to come from a vegan stand point. We have never understood the disconnect people have of loving some animals and eating others.
We always want to know a bit more about the people behind vegan initiatives. Could you tell us a bit more about who’s organising the Irish Vegan Festival?
I founded Farplace Animal Rescue and the festivals. Helping animals by promoting veganism and by direct rescue go hand in hand to me. I am 49 years old, chair of the trustees and I run these events in my spare time.
It all looks very exciting and it’s fantastic do see so many vegan festivals happening in 2016 and being already planned for 2017. Hoping to meet some of you on Saturday!