Brighton VegFest returns for fourth year

PUBLISHED: 16:34 02 March 2012 | UPDATED: 21:08 20 February 2013

Brighton VegFest will be bigger and better than ever before, organiser Tim Bradford talks us through what to expect

By Ruth Williams

Brighton VegFest will be returning for its fourth year and is now bigger than ever. It will take place over two days at Hove Town Hall on the 17th and 18th of March.

Admission is free and there will be plenty to entertain all the family, with stalls, speeches, live music, cookery demonstrations and even vegan face-painting.

The man running the event, Tim Bradford, was awarded the Vegan Societys Best Vegan Achievement last year for his contributions to veganism.

Tim said: VegFest will be open and welcoming, meat eaters shouldnt be put off. The tone of the day will not be to judge people, just to encourage them to try something different.

There will be opportunities to try vegan products, including a sausage and burger competition. The taste-tested winner will be voted by the audience.

The keynote speaker will be Pat Reeves, a woman who attributes her recovery from cancer and major surgery to eating living and sprouting foods. She is now the UK power-lifting champion and someone Tim called a very inspirational talker.

Tim, who has been running VegFest in different locations in the UK since 2003, said his aim was to assist people in accessing the best of a plant-based diet and lifestyle.

VegFest has grown considerably; last year attendance to the one-day event was 3,000 which was double the number from 2010. This year the organisers hope to see that number each day.

Vegetarians and vegans are well represented in Brighton. At the recent Brighton and Hove Foodie Awards the awards for best restaurant, best pub food and best caf were all won by vegetarian establishments.

Tim believes the high proportion of vegetarians and vegans in Brighton is due to the strong alternative culture which has allowed the lifestyle choice to thrive over the last 40-50 years.

He said: The hippie revolution of the 1960s saw the start of vegetarian diets entering the mainstream. This culture has remained strong in Brighton thanks to stores like Infinity Foods pioneering the way in health foods. It started in 1971 in a tiny shop that was more like a garden shed.

Cutting out meat or dairy can be a big lifestyle change and may not be for everyone, but many people are choosing to reduce the amount they eat.

Whether this is for health reasons or to save on rising cost of groceries, Tim said that around 70 per cent of people in the UK are actively seeking to reduce their intake of meat and dairy.

Brighton VegFest will be a great opportunity for people interested in eating less meat and dairy to try some of the alternatives on the market.

Tim described his hope for the event: We are not trying to convert people, just make them think twice about what they are eating. Most people will walk away with a positive outlook and will probably have tried something tasty at the show that they want to introduce into their diet.

Brighton VegFest will take place on March 17th and 18th at Hove Town Hall, Norton Road, between 11am and 6pm.

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