The unstoppable rise of veganism: how a fringe movement went mainstream

6th April 2018

Late on a Thursday afternoon in early March, just off Brick Lane in the heart of London’s nightlife hotspot Shoreditch, 23-year-old Louisa Davidson is taking calls and co-ordinating cables and scaffolds, as shocking pink Vegan Nights banners are hung around the expansive courtyards of the Truman Brewery. There is a chill in the air, quickly warmed by a buzzing atmosphere more like a music festival than an ethical food fair, as BBC Radio 1Xtra and House of Camden DJs play records, cocktails are poured and entrepreneurs sell zines and street wear alongside the vegan sushi, patisserie and “filthy vegan junk food”.

 

Davidson had been running weekend markets at the venue when she noticed a sharp increase in the number of vegan food businesses and vegan menus on offer. So last September, with her colleagues, she decided to put on a one-off vegan night market, with music, drinks and food. “On the day there were queues around the corner,” she says. “We were not prepared for it at all! There was so much interest that by Christmas we decided to make it a monthly thing. It’s all happened very quickly.” Inspired by its success, and the traders she was working with, Davidson switched from vegetarian to a vegan diet in January.

 

Davidson had been running weekend markets at the venue when she noticed a sharp increase in the number of vegan food businesses and vegan menus on offer. So last September, with her colleagues, she decided to put on a one-off vegan night market, with music, drinks and food. “On the day there were queues around the corner,” she says. “We were not prepared for it at all! There was so much interest that by Christmas we decided to make it a monthly thing. It’s all happened very quickly.” Inspired by its success, and the traders she was working with, Davidson switched from vegetarian to a vegan diet in January.

 

“We’re riding on that wave of veganism getting into the mainstream,” Davidson says. “People are curious about it and they’re finding out that vegan food is not just a boring salad, it’s experimental, and the food traders are amazing – people can have a drink, listen to music and hang out. First and foremost, we want to offer a positive platform, whether you’ve never had a fried jackfruit before or you’re a longstanding vegan.” Many of the traders are new to it as well, with a couple of them having launched their businesses at Vegan Nights. “It is a community and everyone supports each other’s businesses. It’s great to be a part of it.”

 

Source: The Guardian, by Dan Hancox. 

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