ESSEX Vegan Festival promises to be bigger and better after a successful debut which saw nearly 2,000 people pass through the Charter Hall.

Organiser Victoria Bryceson has increased the number of stalls to 100 and doubled the space available for inspirational guest speakers due to the unexpected demand last year.

Eclectic stalls, world food caterers, exciting cooking demonstrations, yoga and children's activities will form what Victoria describes as a "one-stop shop" not only for vegans, but anyone interested in cruelty-free living.

This includes makeup and beauty, household items like recyclable containers and eco-friendly cleaning products.


Elspeth's Kitchen helped satisfied sweet tooths 

The 32-year-old, of Cumbria, said: "I'm trying to push people to bring at least one non-vegan friend to raise awareness.

"It's not a room full of weird, hippy vegan stuff, there are normal everyday products and items like jams and chutney which are vegan anyway, but everyone enjoys them.

"People's reasons for going vegan or being interested in vegan products doesn't even have to be anything to do with animals.

"For lots of people, it's more about following a healthier lifestyle or they might want to eat vegan once a week and cut down their meat intake, so coming along will give them lots of ideas."


Victoria Bryceson (left) and Frances Emerony of Miracle's Mission

Initially Essex Vegan Festival was set up to help raise funds for Miracle's Mission, Victoria's animal welfare and education charity she established three years ago.

The first event was in Leeds and Colchester's debut festival was last year.

Places are available on March 3 for stallholders, engaging cooking demonstration hosts and guest speakers, who can help boost the appeal of veganism.  

Positive information on how to go vegan, making it affordable and vitamin-rich continue to be popular topics.

She said: "I became vegan when I was nine, once I was old enough to realise what meat was and I made the connection.

"Lots of people say they would go vegan but they're unsure of what to eat. Being vegan is also so affordable and you can have a balanced diet provided you do your research."

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