Anastasia Ward runs Vool – Vegan Cool, a pop-up market stall in Colchester and surrounding areas. She was featured in the Daily Gazette in Essex on 3rd November as part of its World Vegan Month coverage. The business serves as a talking point for the local newspaper to summarise vegan issues for its readership.
Veganism has gone mainstream. “Ten years ago, veganism could have been classed as a trend perpetuated by bohemian hippies” reports the Gazette. “At that time there was a general view veganism was a fashion with naysayers portraying vegans as limp and pale due to a lack of a good steak”. Not any more.
World Vegan Month is a celebration of how far the vegan movement has come, how accessible its lifestyle is now. It is also a chance to let the “vegan-curious” to experiment a little.
The Vegan Society which celebrates 75 years since its foundation on 1st November 1944, states that the vegan trend has quadrupled between 2012 and 2017. It also maintains that the vegan trend is now getting almost three times more search engine enquiries than “vegetarian” or “gluten-free”.
Local vegan choices being made available in Colchester
Spreading the vegan philosophy comes in all shapes and guises. In Colchester, Ward is popping-up in Colchester Market every Friday. She is also offering an online shop “with all kinds of vegan goodies from jelly sweets to pasta to favourite vegan brands such as Vego, Dandies and Mummy Meagz”.
The is grassroots vegan activism that is getting vegan groceries and snacks into the local community thereby encouraging people to go, and stay, vegan.
Ward thinks that it is important for people “to find their own path” and not just to do it because someone told them to – that’s simply too hard for most people.
“I don’t think becoming vegan is hard but you have to look at the reason why you are doing it, as that will help you stick with it,” she said.
“Most people grow up eating meat and dairy and it seems like the normal thing to do,” she said, adding that most people who become aware of what happens behind the scenes in the dairy industry do become “uncomfortable” with it.
“If you are going to buck the trend it seems like it takes a lot of effort to do it.” To help alleviate this, Ward decided to start the business in November 2017 after realising that opening a vegan shop in Colchester might be financially challenging not least because of the level of business rates.
The article attracted its fair share of criticism in the comments section with people seeing it as vegans forcing their views on other people, even though it was simply an article about a vegan doing her grassroots business for those that were interested, and offering more choice.
“If those vegans that preach all the time would just get on with their lives instead of trying to convert people to the cult of veganism it would be better for everybody,” said one commentator.
Another commentator wrongly assumed the author was a vegan or a vegetarian, saying that the “post has the passive aggressiveness of a carnivore who’s just had a 12oz steak”.
The author expressed surprise at just how much people like to attack vegans.
If you’re in the area, watch out for Anastasia’s suitcase which will be brimming with vegan goodies. She also runs Colchester Vegan Drinks at the Queen Street Brewhouse. You can follow her here on Facebook.