First Durham University Vegan Fair

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On the 25th January, Durham University Vegetarian and Vegan Society (Veg Soc) hosted their first vegan fair as their main event for Veganuary. 

The event was free to enter, and held at the Durham Masonic Hall on Old Elvet. It was funded by the Students’ Union, and attended by students and locals alike.

“We’ve tried to make it as ethical and sustainable as possible, not just in terms of veganism but for the planet too”.

Sunita Ramani, president of Veg Soc

The fair held 17 different stalls, including bakeries, fashion and bookshops.

Sunita Ramani, President of Veg Soc, who organised the event, explained that “we reached out to local businesses which we had already established connections with. 

“Once the awareness grew we got more requests from other businesses. We’ve tried to make it as ethical and sustainable as possible, not just in terms of veganism but for the planet too”.

Veganuary is a scheme to encourage people to try a vegan throughout January. Ramani explained that “From December we start raising awareness of Veganuary, reaching out to people who are considering a transition to vegetarian or vegan, and establishing a support network for Veganuary

“Even for people who eat meat, it’s important to have a chance to see the other options that are available.”

Tom Katon, vice-president of the Hummus Society

“We get a lot of private messages and requests for help on social media during this time, and then during January we organise events and publicise information on themes within veganism, such as health, convenience, animals, and the environment”.

The Hummus Society also hosted a stall, with their signature free hummus, and were highly supportive of the event’s success. 

The Society’s vice president, Tom Katon, who is not himself a vegetarian or vegan, was nonetheless impressed by the event. He told Palatinate that “It’s nice to see locals come in, and it’s great to see this widening community come together. Even for people who eat meat, it’s important to have a chance to see the other options that are available.”

The public street activism group Anonymous for the Voiceless also attended, who campaign by showing slaughterhouse footage whilst wearing masks. A spokesperson for the organisation said “It’s great to come to Durham and see events like this which allows us to meet new audiences and see how veganism is growing”.

Image: Alan Charlton

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