a guide to free vegan food stalls and fairsPhoto: BinaryApe
This guide has been written by Vegan Campaigns to help you do your own stall from scratch. And there's another excellent guide from the creators of free food fairs at Realfood. Learn from the experts!
A great slant or variation on free food fairs are 'I can't believe it's vegan' events - a lovely way to introduce it if you wish to be up front about it all being vegan. Simply calling an event a free food fair is the alternative that lets the idea of it all being vegan sink in after people have started tasting. Both work well, the latter being best for an audience completely new to veggie food perhaps, whereas the 'I can't believe it's vegan' title works well for veggies, food explorers and to catch attention in the media.
Promoting veganism on street stalls can be a great opportunity to introduce people to vegan food and a cruelty-free lifestyle. You can also do it on a grander scale as a food fair .
A free food stall
The free vegan food is a great way of drawing people over and we have had lots of brilliant feedback about our stalls and the food on them. These stalls really help to break down the stereotypes surrounding vegan food, because people can see how nice the food is!
All you need is a folding table (a pasting table from a DIY shop is ideal, being fairly light and portable), tablecloth if possible, leaflets, food, things to serve the food with and 3-4 people. There should be no problem setting up a stall, but if you are unsure about restrictions in the area you plan to go, contact your local council. Find a busy shopping area and set up your stall in a public place, not a private area like an indoor precinct (unless you have specific permission). Set your stall up so it is not causing an obstruction.
People may ask about nutrition, or where they can get cruelty-free alternatives, so it is very helpful if you have that information available. Before we start the stall we often find out where the nearest health food shop/s are located. On one stall we were giving out Redwoods sausages and we knew a health food shop nearby that stocked them, so pointed people who asked in that direction. Later on the health food shop told us they sold a lot of those sausages that day!
on the stall include:
- Information on the reasons why people go vegan, for example info on the cruelty involved in the meat and dairy industries.
- Information on the practicalities of going vegan:
- Vegan guides on what food to buy, where to buy it, recipes (these tend to be very popular), vegan-friendly restaurants etc
- Information about vegan nutrition
- You could also include a range of information about other non-animal products such as toiletries, shoes and clothing
- Free vegan food samples. Make sure the food is tasty! The food samples could include home made food (have copies of the recipes available where possible) and some shop-bought food for people that dont want to cook (have the packets on show). Imitation meat and non-dairy cheese can be good to show people direct alternatives, and we have found that chocolate and sweet foods are good at pulling people over to the stall.
- posters, notices and ingredients lists
It pays to have some practical materials to make it all go swimmingly.
- plates, cutlery, cocktails stick (e.g. for sausages), napkins and other bits and pieces to help you display and serve the food.
- table cloth clips
- scelotape, string, scissors, pens, paper
getting feedback so you know what works best
It really helps you and other active vegans to find out what the punters most appreciate at our events. It's well worth doing a questionnaire. Vegan Camapigns have summarised the feedback for an event they got at a food fair in April 2006 and this is really useful info for all of us.
Read Vegans Campaigns' 2005 post-fair report December 2005 to get further ideas on what really appeals to and draws the punters.
food hygiene - do you need a certificate?
You are a lot more likely to get permission to be in a good spot if one of you has a food hygiene certificate. This is surprisingly easy to get and could be a good investment.
For vegan food the main hygiene issues are that everyone should wash their hands, tie their hair back, and that food should only be out for a limited time. The limitations are stricter on hot food.
Your local council should be able to tell you about local food hygiene courses. You can train on line in food hygiene for a fee. Try Googling for these courses. Look out for those that are CPD accredited or recognised by Environmental Health Officers.
free food - what works best?
We've got a whole separate page on which offerings and themes work particularly well, so take a look at food for food fairs.
Here are companies that have offered free promotional product.
The Wrexham group have done a great write-up of their free food fair in July, it's worth taking a look.
This food fair check list will guide you through the steps required to make a success of it.
building on our ideas
We are developing ideas for street stalls all the time, if you have any other suggestions please email them to Vegan Campaigns at Protected email address, and also contact ActiVeg so we can update this page.
a free food fair
This is where you have more than one table of food and leaflets and an area for the fair. This can be a hired building, such as a community hall, or an open area such as the foyer of a shopping centre. Thames Valley Veggies had the foyer of a Reading shopping centre for free for a day during National Vegetarian Week in 2006, using the persuasion of the food fair demonstrating the products of the health food shops and a cafe in the centre, as well as home made food. We also think that using the term vegetarian for what is actually a vegan event is more warming to the uninitiated too.
Choose your venue carefully. The most important feature is location - you need a large number of passing people if you want to make this a big event. Hand washing facilities are also essential, as well as toilets if you are going to be there a few hours.
Add your comment
Story posted by on 2005-12-04 19:28:58.
Story last updated by on 2010-12-13 16:49:35.
Veganism is often heralded as a very healthy way to eat. It certainly can be, and has more chance of being so than standard western eating habits. It avoids many of the dangers of omnivorous diets, as well as containing much better quantities of most essential nutrients. However, there are still some key nutrients we need to search out and help other vegans be aware of, to keep us in tip top condition and avoid risks. Then it can be a healthy diet for life for us all.
That's why we developed this key vegan nutrition page for everyone.
Most medicines are tested on animals and many contain animal ingredients. We vegans and vegetarians all have to make our own minds up about the medicines we use, by being well informed and listening to all views.
Widely varying opinions exist on the pros and cons of different medications, particularly vaccinations. These lead to different conclusions from different people, with strong views even amongst professionals on each side, even before you get to the animal welfare issues. We will not pretend to know the efficacy and potential side-effects of drugs here.
Being vegan or vegetarian does not mean you automatically doubt the value of any vaccination and western medicine per se, any more than it means you will believe in every alternative that comes along. This is a separate consideration.
We have a growing set of articles on common vegan issues for parents. Do contact us if you have anything to add to the articles we already have or any feedback - we'd love to hear from you!
There are some enterprising vegans out there wanting to make and sell lovely products. ActiVeg claims no great knowledge about setting up businesses, so always get professional advice and talk to others who have done similar. However, here are a few ideas to consider to get you going. Feel free to add your experiences and comments below.
This document highlights the changes made to LVW when it matured into ActiVeg Network
There are many animal products in food production and cooking used for their particular structural or chemical characteristics, which often have good animal-free alternatives.
This article will help manufacturers consider alternatives to animal products so as to increase their market share, by improving food choice for religious and food intollerance groups, without exiting the food's main market, as well as raising awareness of both the animal-based products and equivalents from plants, minerals and synthetic compounds.
What works for me to solve every day maladies, or at least lighten them. Check with a doctor and all that jazz.