This past Sunday saw World Vegan day, which kicked World Vegan Month off with a bang! There are so many events and celebrations going on around the UK, including the debut of Vegan Futures – a new lifestyle event for vegans in London – on Saturday 7th November. The magazine.co.uk team caught up with Damien Clarkson, one of the organisers of the event, to find out more.
How long have you been vegan, and why did you choose to change your diet?
I have been meat free since January 2011, I was vegetarian for a few years before going vegan in June 2013. I originally started doing meat free Monday's and realised that the days I didn't eat meat were the days which I felt the best. I also around this time became involved in environmental activism.
The research I did led me to discover the horrific impact of animal agriculture on nature and our attempts to curb climate change. I realised that I no longer wanted to eat meat and just gave it up. I eventually went vegan primarily due to animal welfare. I started watching videos about the dairy industry and decided I no longer wanted anything to do with this exploitive industry.
Now onto Vegan Futures, what is it, when is it, and where is it?
It is happening on the 7th of November in a beautiful space called The Trampery in Shoreditch, London. I describe it an educational festival where people will hear inspiring talks but also have the opportunity to learn new skills through our workshops. We will be providing yoga, fitness workouts, guided meditations and cooking workshops. This festival is different to other plant-based festivals as it isn't about rampant consumption of product, it is a day where you hopefully will meet people and hear ideas that profoundly change the direction of your life.
How did the idea of Vegan Futures come about?
Living in London and through my involvement in the online vegan community I noticed that I knew all these inspiring people who were loosely connected but hadn't met in real life. I had the idea to create something that brought people together not just to consume products but to talk about inspiring adventures and big ideas that can grow the vegan movement. I then spoke to my business partner Jen about the idea and our friend Anne Marie and we started to turn what was an idea into reality.
What’s one thing you’d like Vegan Futures attendees to take away with them?
A sense that they belong to an exciting, accepting and daring community who are pushing to make the world a better place for people and animals.
How do you see Vegan Futures progressing in the future?
This year is gearing up to be a huge success. We are getting some great support and I hope we can grow it. Perhaps we will try running some festivals across Europe or doing a bigger 2 day festival. If the festival grows it will still stay about ideas and meeting interesting people it will never become just a product exhibition.
Do you have any tips for those who are interested in changing their lifestyle and becoming Vegan?
Just do it! It was the best thing I ever did. My number one practical tip is to make sure you eat lots of food. Plant-based foods are less calorie dense, it means you basically have to eat more and I would suggest get online and find likeminded people in vegan support groups on Facebook. There are millions of people on the vegan journey and we are here to support each other.
There are some great confirmed speakers and panel guests for Vegan Futures, including Tim Shieff (vegan athlete), Matthew Glover and Jane Land (co-founders of Veganuary), Jon Venus (vegan bodybuilder), Ali Tabrizi (film maker and The Friendly Activist on YouTube), and Wrapped in Newspaper.
Tickets for Vegan Futures have actually sold out, but you’ll be able to keep up with the event on the day as they will be using Periscope to stream what’s going on.
If you’re vegan or considering changing your diet, a subscription to Vegan Life magazine is packed full of tips, recipes and interesting features.