On Wednesday 17th May, Seaborne Library hosted the inaugural Veggiefest, with assistance from the Sustainability Unit. Grosvenor Common Room (Parkgate Road Campus) played host to businesses and departments promoting meat reducing, vegetarianism and veganism as a way to instantly and dramatically reduce your carbon footprint. The event also promoted seasonal and local eating.
The Seaborne Library Green Impact Team provided a range of vegan and vegetarian tasters, some inspired by international cuisine. There were some sneaky treats, such as vegan chocolate tiffin and vegan cupcakes, and there was even a section dedicated to Christmas! White’s catering provided mushroom and lentil burgers, vegan chocolate mousse and polenta croutons among other delicacies promoting the vegetarian and vegan bar at White's Dining Hall. The NoWFood Centre also attended, educating onlookers on how to make salads interesting, using nuts, drizzles and other ideas. The Sustainability Unit brought along the Carbon Footprint Game, and also provided food in the way of vegan chocolate brownie and creamy tomato pasta, among other foods. Big 5 Sauces were also part of the event, giving students and staff a sneak peak of the delicious South-African sauces for sale in the NoWFood Centre.
‘We tried to be inclusive,’ writes Chloe Percival, founder of Veggiefest. ‘As well as offering vegetarian and vegan options, we wanted to show people who can’t tolerate allergens such as gluten or nuts that they can still live as a vegetarian or vegan, and still enjoy delicious food.’ Chloe received a grant from the Vegetarian Society to help fund ingredients for departments who didn't have a budget to attend the event. 'I'm extremely grateful to other departments and external companies for providing tasters. Everybody involved was so enthusiastic, which made the event all the more fun!'
Veggiefest wasn’t all about food - Laura Edwards, an ambassador for Tropic Skincare, had a stall at the event, offering beauty advice and free facials. Laura commented on the event, saying: ‘I am content knowing Tropic doesn't use any toxic chemicals, ingredients like tallow or lanolin, and is certified by The Vegan Society, Cruelty Free International and PETA...I'm grateful to have been part of such an amazing event.’ More information on Tropic Skincare can be found on facebook (search Tropic-al Lollipop). There were also displays dispelling myths about vegetarianism and veganism, and a range of recipe books for people to browse.
Representatives from Bridge Community Farm also had a stall at the event, promoting the importance of sourcing food locally wherever possible. Their main purpose is to offer permanent and sustainable jobs to people who are long-term unemployed, by growing and selling fruit, vegetables, salads and herbs to the local community. The Farm offers free delivery to Parkgate Road Campus. Free chilli plants were donated by Steve Collins in LIS, to promote growing your own food where possible.
The main point of Veggiefest was to encourage people to take responsibility for what they eat and where it comes from. Going vegan can save approximately 135kg of CO2 per month, as well as 900 square feet of land and 30 animal lives, while going vegetarian can save 60kg of CO2 per month and 17 animals. For anyone not quite ready for that step, simply reducing your meat intake or sourcing food locally can also make a real difference.
Alan Foster, a member of staff who is considering reducing meat as a result of the micro-festival, said 'I enjoyed tasting everything and trying something new. It's definitely given me food for thought!'
Veggiefest was declared by all to be a resounding success – look out for us next year!