When I arrived at Vegan Events UK’s Manchester market on Saturday afternoon I was especially glad to be speaking to the founder, as there was a queue snaking round the car park.
The venue was the slightly remote Bowler’s Exhibition Centre in Trafford Park, but I suspect these committed and conscientious punters would have walked much further if it was required.
Founder Victoria Bryceson said: “Veganism has grown a phenomenal amount. It was gradual for a time and then over the last three years it’s just exploded.
“The whole mindset of the country has just massively shifted.”
The stallholders showed alternatives to seemingly every aspect of our daily lives, from plastic-free skincare to a tote bag whose proceeds fund fox hunt sabotage.
Miss Bryceson explained: “People often think it’s just about the diet, but it’s so much more. It’s literally everything you are using and consuming.
“For instance with supermarkets, two years ago there was a vegan section, but by the next year it’d doubled in size. It’s very clear they’re following consumer demand.”
This demand, and the growing success of Bryceson’s market events, led her to set up a camping festival, VFest UK.
Miss Bryceson elaborated: “We set it up because we’d get to the end of the day on a market and say we didn’t want to go home. We wanted to make it a proper holiday, not just an afternoon out.”
Alongside this good nature is the founding purpose of the markets, to raise awareness and funds for Bryceson’s charity Miracle’s Mission, which cares for and rehomes sick, injured and disabled dogs, as well as neutering strays in Borneo and Egypt.
“These markets only exist because of Miracle’s Mission. I wanted to set up the charity and I needed a way to fund it, so thought it made sense to promote veganism at the same time.”
I mentioned the charity’s Instagram post of a group of smiling dogs in mobility wheels on a hillside walk, and Bryceson beamed.
“Often the disabled dogs are the most active, and the most happy, because we’ve given them back that lease of life.”
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