August 17th in Ghent was for me my first experience as a volunteer at the biggest vegan event of the Benelux. This event was proudly presented by Be Vegan. Like I said, it was my first time being a volunteer and I was so lucky to experience it in such an event.
It was already the 5th edition of the festival with 115 stands and more than 140 volunteers (including me) this year. My first impression was « wow, it’s huge ». However I could expect it, as it was located in Flanders Expo, but still…
A second impression I want to share is the diversity of people attending the event. From vegan animal right activists to small families, elderly people or people that were at the festival just to hang out and buy some stuff. I could see a lot of smiles and a lot of friendship, like I imagine it should be everyday.
The Vegan Summer Fest was a vegan paradise all day long. All food was 100% plant based, so no need to check or ask as usual. If it wasn’t vegan, it wasn’t there.
The amount of eco-friendly and sustainable alternatives available, is a third impression I want to write about. As the festival also tries to help people to attain a more sustainable lifestyle. Including an introduction to a zero waste lifestyle using f.e. bamboo cutlery sets, reusable straws, refillable bottle, bamboo mugs, bags, etc. etc. … and of course remaining cruelty free and plant based.
Not only food trucks or sustainable shops were part of the Vegan Fest. I also attended a couple of Cooking Demos. In one of them I discovered in real life (and not only on Instagram anymore) the Belgian Chef Pieter Jan Lint. He veganized a famous dish of the Belgian’s cuisine: « kaaskroketten », literally translated as cheese croquettes. I also learned a lot during the talk-show by « Sustainable Family » about the good impact that a plant based lifestyle can have on the planet and your health. But also about the effect on the well-being of animals.
After watching the presentation of Pieter Jan Lint and Sustainable Family, I found the cooking-show of the famous British chef Gaz Oakley a bit disappointing. It felt more like an active way of promoting his social media than helping people how to cook vegan. But, to be honest with you, this guy remains a big source of inspiration and I’m still a big fan of his dishes!
So, after being (for the first time!) volunteer and to be volunteering on the Vegan Fest, I want to conclude that it was an amazing and awesome experience and I’m looking forward to do it again. Right now, I’m officially a volunteer for the Be Vegan association and if you go visit their blog, you will discover that I’m participating in the french part of it.