Shopping with compassion

The launch of a new vegan market has offered a taste of things to come, writes Chrissie Dodkin

Waltham Forest Vegans Market

Shoppers at the inaugural Waltham Forest Vegans Market in Walthamstow High Street (credit Chrissie Dodkin)

Last month Walthamstow witnessed the launch of a community and family-friendly market, where vegans and non-vegans alike enjoyed and discovered the richness and diversity of a compassionate lifestyle.

Waltham Forest Vegans Market is a not-for-profit team effort which has grown out of a small local vegan support and discussion group. As veganism grows locally and nationally, it’s no wonder that the creative cultural mixing pot of Walthamstow has produced some wonderful local traders.

The positive energy of Waltham Forest Vegans, a group of passionate members now numbering more than 600, brought the opportunity to support homegrown talent with the launch event on Sunday 13th May. The first market took place at the St James end of Walthamstow High Street and showcased a wide range of hot and cold food and drink stalls, from raw and zesty to deliciously indulgent.

Local businesses taking part included La Buenaventura, offering Spanish brunch; Renee’s Kitchen serving Caribbean dishes; burgers from The Green Grill; sweet treats such as ice cream and cakes; as well as animal-free clothing and skincare products. Visitors were also entertained with live music from local musicians, face painting for kids, and even a man on stilts!

Not only did the event attract vegans from Waltham Forest, people from other parts of London and outside of London travelled especially to visit the market. Passing non-vegans also took a keen interest in what the project had to offer.

Many took particular notice of ‘iAnimal’ the immersive virtual reality headsets from Animal Equality which allowed the public to find out a little more about the life of a farmed animal in the UK.

A raffle drew a crowd of people hoping to win some beautiful products kindly donated by traders, with proceeds donated to animal protection charity Animal Defenders International.

A vegan lunch

A vegan lunch from Waltham Forest Vegans Market (credit Chrissie Dodkin)

Traders and visitors alike remarked how the warm and friendly atmosphere fostered by organisers allowed conversation about a vegan lifestyle and food to flow freely.

Traders Well-Bean Company and The Depressed Baker also encouraged discussion on mental wellbeing, with both businesses supporting work in the area of mental health.

But the main point of discussion and question on everyone’s lips was when the next Waltham Forest Vegans Market would take place! An aspiration is for future Waltham Forest Vegans market days to promote more local businesses offering vegan suitable foods and goods, as well as entertainment and activities which reflect the diversity of the borough, so that the project is run to support the area and with the local community at its heart.

The launch event was kindly supported by the street trading team of Waltham Forest Council, including a fantastic street cleaning team who commented just how clean and tidy the street was left at the end of the event.

With the tremendous support shown by locals and all visitors so far, organisers are hopeful that further discussions with the council about ongoing, regular markets will have a positive outcome. Stay tuned!


For more information about Waltham Forest Vegans:

Email [email protected]

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