Vevolution Featured

Yesterday I had the absolute privilege of being surrounded by so many like minded others, as well as icons in the vegan and sustainability movements for Vevolution festival.

I say privilege – I did pay £40.50 for my concession ticket. But my God did that £40.50 give me a whole lot more than I could have even anticipated.

Firstly, the stuff we got given in our (gorgeous) goody bags (made solely using wind and solar power, of course) was all so so lovely! A nākd bar, lovingearth mylk chocolate, VeganEggs, Rebel Kitchen Mylk, Minor Figures iced coffee, Rubies in the Rubble mayo, Brave roasted peas, a Red-Red super stew in a pot, some Miso soup to go, some Clearspring organic seaveg crispies and some Clearspring Tamari Roasted Sicilian Almonds (which I have already devoured and can confirm were actually delicious). The contents of this bag amounts to around £27.50 in value, and most of the things I would likely not have tried if it weren’t for getting them in this goodybag. If you look at this way I only really paid £13.00 for a day full of talks from the biggest names in the vegan and sustainability community (and a rather lovely breakfast consisting of smoothies, choc chip cookies, carrot cake muffins and fruit upon arrival).

In the picture above, you might also notice an extra Red-Red super stew pot, a Daura Damm beer and Freaks of Nature chocolate fudge hot pudding (anyone who knows me well knows how happy this will make me). These were all picked up by yours truly for free! All these companies and more had stalls at Vevolution this year and were more than happy to give you freebies (apart from they are arguably far superior to your normal freebies like pens, highlighters and sticky note pads because these are EDIBLE – the Red-Red pot will save me from having pasta for lunch four days in a row next week!) Not only this but I also got a whole host of coupons with money off the companies sponsoring the festival (most of which have already been mentioned) which is super generous.

The thread and denim patch included in the picture are from the wonderful embroidery workshop I took part in – the Stories Behind Things girls running the workshop were so kind and said we could take home whatever threads we wanted in order to finish our embroidery (which for those of us less creatively inclined and chronically slow yet keen is an absolutely blessing)!

It goes without saying, however, that the real reason I came home from Vevolution absolutely beaming is the people there, or, perhaps more importantly, the sense of community you couldn’t help but feel at the festival (something which was highlighted by the Happy Pear in their talk – they are absolute legends, would highly recommend following them if you don’t already regardless of the way in which you eat and live).

Maybe I’m bias, but all the people I came across at Vevolution created the impression that vegans (and the vegan-curious) are the bloody loveliest lot you’ll ever meet. Obviously you get vegans who are absolute losers, but you get them everywhere, and I’ll be the first to admit that it’s often the case that these kinds of people can be even worse if they are vegan due to their sense of entitlement. But the running message throughout so many of the talks at Vevolution was that, in order to get people on board, the most important thing is to show understanding towards everyone, as we are all on our own journeys.

It can be tricky to rein it in when you are so passionate about things like veganism and sustainability, but it really does seem as if the key to the progression is to allow people to make their own decisions – they are far more meaningful this way and thus far more likely to lead to lasting changes. This is one of the residing messages I will take home from the day.

I will also, of course, take home a whole wealth of knowledge despite formerly considering myself fairly well versed in some of the topics discussed by the speakers at Vevolution. Talks are on from 10 until 5 which seems like a super long time, but each talk only last for 20 minutes and are broken up by 10 minute breaks, and the speakers are evidently so passionate about their chosen topic, so the time literally flew by. I was so sad when they day was over!

I feel like I could write an entire blog post on every single talk I went to, but, if I were pushed, my favourites (given that I didn’t go to all of them bc food) were probably:

The Happy Pear: Top Tips for Health and Happiness.

My face literally hurt after their talk from smiling the entire way through it – their incredible outlook and just general joy is so infectious and you can’t help but love them. Plus, they were hanging out in the lounge area for at least an hour, maybe even two, after their talk just chatting with people. We need more lovely human beans like them in the world!

Max La Manna, Eating With Max: Planet or Plastic, Why We Must Reduce, Reuse and Refuse.

Having been zero-waste for just over a year, this guy is an absolute inspiration. I loved how he drew attention to even the difficulties he currently faces due to his mission even at events like Vevolution, with the example of having to say no to all of the delicious samples on offer due to them all being presented in plastic. It is vital to consider every purchase we make, and while many of us will see Max’s lifestyle as unachievable for us at present, it is certainly something to aspire to and aim for, both for us as individuals and for firms who should be doing more to take corporate responsibility for the endless ways in which plastic is destroying our beautiful planet. I particularly loved Max’s point about making the first step – for example saying no to plastic straws (instead, perhaps carry your own metal straw as my darling friend Maria always does) – and then feeling a certain sense of achievement in this, and then feeling inspired to make the next step, for example investing in plastic free clothing, or bulk buying your food – the list is endless and, once brands get on board, plastic-free options will be endless too, I hope.

Max La Manna, Eating With Max: Planet or Plastic, Why We Must Reduce, Reuse and Refuse.

Having been zero-waste for just over a year, this guy is an absolute inspiration. I loved how he drew attention to even the difficulties he currently faces due to his mission even at events like Vevolution, with the example of having to say no to all of the delicious samples on offer due to them all being presented in plastic. It is vital to consider every purchase we make, and while many of us will see Max’s lifestyle as unachievable for us at present, it is certainly something to aspire to and aim for, both for us as individuals and for firms who should be doing more to take corporate responsibility for the endless ways in which plastic is destroying our beautiful planet. I particularly loved Max’s point about making the first step – for example saying no to plastic straws (instead, perhaps carry your own metal straw as my darling friend Maria always does) – and then feeling a certain sense of achievement in this, and then feeling inspired to make the next step, for example investing in plastic free clothing, or bulk buying your food – the list is endless and, once brands get on board, plastic-free options will be endless too, I hope.

Kristen Leo: I Am What I Wear.

One of my favourite things about events like Vevolution is the fact that you always end up finding out about new people – people you might have never come across had you not attended such an event. I have to admit I’d never heard of Kristen Leo before Vevolution, but I loved her clear message on the realities of the lives of both animals and human beings in the fashion industry. A particularly poignant point made by Kristen was that “as long as we remain silent and keep supporting these brands” [i.e. fast fashion brands that exploit workers in order to produce ever cheaper, disposable clothing] we are saying that we support workers being in unsafe working conditions, and we agree with the astronomically huge pay gap between workers and CEOs.” Kristen’s message is essentially that of The True Cost documentary, which I implore you to watch if you haven’t already – it’s on Netflix, Youtube and Google play.

Paul Brown (BOL) & Richard Reed (JamJar Investments): Our Experience Starting & Scaling Purpose Lead Brands.

The founder and CEO of Bol and the co-founder of Innocent and now investor in Bol (among other so many other companies you’ll definitely have heard of) respectively inspired with the message that passion for what you do is of fundamental importance for your career and starting your own business if you are to start one (and certainly if anyone is going to inspire you on this it’s these guys, or the guys discussed below).

Henry Firth & Ian Theasby, BOSH! BOSH’s Top 10 Hacks to Build Your Business, Blog or Bestseller.

The BOSH boys’ realistic and yet amazingly can-do attitude on starting a business was so refreshing. They got through 80 slides in 20 minutes and that kind of sums them up; it was so cool to see the guys that started out with very little but raw determination and a mission to get everyone eating more plants, and who managed to reached more than half a billion people in just their first year, through nothing but hard work and learning from mistakes.

It was honestly just the best day. Being able to see the biggest names in the industry in action and meet them all in such a relaxed, open environment was incredible and I arrived home feeling inspired beyond belief. There really is something for everyone at Vevolution, and this was represented by the crazy diverse demographic represented at the festival – from babies to older people, Youtubers to vegan food CEOs, and – most importantly – vegans to (curious) non-vegans, it was so amazing to feel this incredible sense of community and shared purpose. I only wish I could bottle up how I felt last night and be able to relive the feeling all over again (before next year)!