Big Vegan weekend festival is a big success for Doncaster’s vegan community

Hundreds of vegans descended on the festival this weekend to sample free food and learn about eco products.

Monday, 15th July 2019, 11:26 am
Updated Tuesday, 16th July 2019, 10:26 am

The Village Pantry is located within the Cherry Lane Garden Centre on Bawtry Road in Tickhill.

This is not the first vegan festival that The Village Pantry has held - this is their sixth in the last year.

Sarah Kaihau owner of the shop and organiser of the event said: “We hold them as often as we can so we can show off the new lines we get in and hold tasting sessions.

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Jim Fulbrook owner of The Green Pepper with one of his pizzas.
Jim Fulbrook owner of The Green Pepper with one of his pizzas.

“We want to help overcome the vegan stereotype.

“All of my vegan customers are so friendly and supportive.

“Half my shop is now stocked with vegan food and we keep expanding.

“I want to thank all of the volunteers who helped out this weekend and say a big thank you to everyone in the eco-community.”

The Village Pantry shop front.

The Vegan Baker, Chris Hodgson, was cooking for three days to get ready for the festival.

He whipped up batches of vegan mac ‘n’ cheese, coleslaw and many pastries in advance for the event.

He said: “I started making vegan food for my stepson as he was vegan.

“It’s just gotten bigger and bigger - I’ve done vegan weddings and catering.

The Vegan Baker, Chris Hodgeson.

“It’s surprising what can be made vegan.”

The Vegan Baker stocks his food in The Village Pantry all year round.

Some of his staples include - sausage rolls, lasagne, coleslaw, Caesar salad, eggless custard tarts, and scotch eggs.

There were other vegan food suppliers at the festival such as The Green Pepper and Happy Cow Vegan Fudge.

Gemma Mullcrone of Happy Cow Vegan Fudge.

Owner of The Green Pepper, Jim Fulbrook said: “It’s all vegan and homemade and I’m convinced it’s pretty tasty too.

“We make the dough, the cheese, meat substitutes, and the sauce at home in our own kitchen.”

The Green Pepper business started when owner Jim wanted to host a pizza party night but didn’t love any of the vegan cheese options out on the market.

After making his own he decided to stock it in places such as The Village Pantry - they have various flavours such as margarita, veggie, pepperoni and bbq chicken.

Happy Cow Vegan Fudge is a company based out of Sheffield but owner Gemma Mulcrone often visits vegan events such as the Big Vegan Festival.

She said: “I wanted to develop something that was suitable for as many people as possible as well as having a strong ethical stance.

Volunteers Leanne and Joshua.

“All the sugar and vanilla is fair trade and the packaging is compostable.

“The flavourings are real, there’s nothing artificial in them.”

Her fudge comes in vanilla, salted caramel, burnt orange, lemon and strawberry.

But the festival was not just about vegan food - as public concern grows about the environment so does the range of eco-friendly products available to reduce your impact on the planet.

Sarah brought in volunteers to show festival visitors how refill stations work and also how small changes can make a big difference.

Rebecca Ward of Eco Friendly Fabric Creations said: “A lot of people are a lot more conscious about the environment now.

“For us it’s not just about giving people an alternative but an affordable alternative.”

Her stall was filled with reusable cloths, straws and soy wax wraps.