Gravesend has held its first vegan event at its Borough Market on Sunday the 20th, with more than 40 different businesses participating at the event.
The event was organised by Vegan Markets UK, which initially began as a simple market in Cambridge in 2016, and has since held events in 30 different cities and towns.
Andy Tyrrell, the event manager of Earth Events, the charity which operates vegan markets nationwide, said because there have been great calls for veganism, particularly in Gravesend, his organisation decided to bring the vegan market to the town.
“It’s so popular and being in Veganuary that there’s a lot of call for it,” Mr. Tyrrell said. “Yesterday we went to Croydon, … today we’re here, and next week we’re going to Oxford and Cambridge.”
He added that although the event did not officially begin until 10:30 a.m., people have already started to arrive and amass at the Borough Market at 10.
The vegan market encompassed a whole array of vegan-orientated products which include stalls selling delicatessen to fruit liqueurs to skincare and beauty products.
“It’s a free event where people don’t have to pay to come in, and they can just mill around, have a look, and try the food, and hopefully, buy lots to take home,” the event manager said.
“Even if, I think, it’s sort of event where it’s not, let’s say, for die-hard vegans; it’s to come experience it, (and) get to know what veganism is about.
“You have even the cats protection here, so that’s not directly vegan, but it’s looking after the planet and looking after animals, so there’s a variety.”
Sarah Cheshire, the event co-ordinator from the Gravesham Borough Council, said the Council has been wanting to introduce the vegan market to the area for some time due to its popularity.
“We’ve got quite a lot of vegan people here, but people come from a wide variety, don’t they,” Ms. Cheshire said.
“I’ve had a lot of phone calls as well this week leading up to it (the vegan market), asking me details about the event today, about where it is, so people are coming from all over the place,” she added.
Although slightly more than 1,400 people have expressed interest regarding the event on Facebook according to event manager Andy Tyrrell, he expected more people to have arrived.
“I noticed by 11, that there were a few stands that had empty trays of food and … I hope they got more,” Mr. Tyrrell said.
“I think it’s one of these things which is very popular and will only get more popular: this is the first time we tried it in Gravesend and as far as I’m concerned, we’ll be back,” he added.
Sharnie Gabbidon of Iuvo Skincare said hers is a family business and normally sells goods at shows and events around the U.K., and became a trader with Vegan Markets UK because of the good turnout.
“We always support vegan products, and everything in our product range is vegan or organic – the stem and the roots of the company is from my mother: she originally had cancer in 2012, developed her own moisturising cream, and then we took it from there and brought more products out,” Ms. Gabbidon said.
“So … our goal and aim is to endure everyone sees our products and can benefit in the same way that my mother did so many years ago,” she added.
Mike Norton from Hogg Norton makes traditional fruit liqueurs and aspires to promote his brand in the southeast.
“We’ve come to Gravesend today with Vegan Markets to be able to offer our products with Vegan January that’s currently on at the moment,” Mr. Norton said.
“We’re based in Derbyshire and obviously we’re looking at markets, and we’re looking at fairs that are in the south, and Gravesend is a perfect opportunity for us to come here,” he added.
Shoppers were equally pleased with their time at Gravesend’s first vegan event.
Rob Bailey and his wife were impressed by the event.
“I have only recently become vegan, so I don’t know what to really expect – but we’re really impressed: there is a lot of stalls, a huge variety of different things as foods, sweets, cosmetics, all sorts of things,” Mrs. Bailey said.
“I think it’s great. It has a real variety of things here – some things that you wouldn’t necessarily think of as being vegan products like sweets and sustainable reusable coffee cups …, which is really kind of eye-opening,” her husband added.
A vegetarian couple who wished not to be named thought the vegan event was lovely and interesting.
“I found out about it on Facebook, and we popped down because of that, and that’s a really beautiful community thing, and obviously the food,” the wife said.
“There’s lots of people here, and they all seemed to be enjoying it, so it seems to be popular,” the husband added.