There’s been so much hype surrounding this year’s Vegfest London. I’ve been lucky enough to talk to some of the inspirational speakers and athletes including Kate Strong, Rebecca Fox, Marta Zaraska and Fiona Oakes. All in all, I had pretty high expectations for the event which I wrote about last year and the year before. It turns out, this year’s Vegfest completely excelled my expectations, and was bigger and better than any of the previous years!
This was partly due to space – this year the whole of London Olympia was hired out to accommodate around 13,500 visitors and a whole host of vegan businesses. This meant a lot more space throughout, and each talk had it’s own conference room, which really did make a huge difference.
The stalls were great, and I was introduced to so many vegan businesses I didn’t know about before. Some of my favourite purchases from new (well new to me, at least!) businesses came from Veggie Pets (for my newly converted vegan cats and dog), Love Libby X, Ananda Foods and Ethics & Antics. Plus I couldn’t resist a few buys from some of my old favourites – Ms Cupcake, Viva La Vegan and Hillside Animal Sanctuary! There really was something for everyone, and it was great to see so many unique, high quality products from 100% vegan businesses.
But the thing that made Vegfest extra special for me this year was the amazing speakers. It’s easy to get carried away with the awesome vegan food and shopping downstairs to forget about the talks, but I really would recommend catching a couple. I managed to listen to Christine ‘Peanut’ Vardaros give excellent advice for thriving on a vegan diet to fuel regular exercise and Tim Shieff give an interesting talk about water, something I hadn’t thought too much about before. But one person whose talk I’m always going to remember is David Smith MBE. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house after David shared his incredible story of battling illness and how veganism changed his life. I felt so moved by his story; it really hit home how precious every day is, and it was a real privilege to listen to him share this important journey.