Featuring vegan produce and products from Asian cuisine and vegan cakes and pies to vegan fashion, art and craft, we speak to Vegan Mini Market’s Simon and Miriam to find out what’s on offer at the first monthly Vegan Mini Market, this Saturday. Come along to support and celebrate the locally and ethically made vegan produce and products.
How did you become passionate about vegan foods and products, and how did this evolve into the Vegan Mini Market?
Simon: It was a series of processes. Going from vegetarian to pescatarian to finally vegan and a combination of documentaries also helped with the final transition. And I really love animals! And I see them as companions not a commodity.
Miriam: Daily life is a great inspiration for it. From food to shampoo and boots, it’s always good to know ingredients and to make sure it aligns with one’s beliefs.
More and more vegan events are popping up each week, but this is the first monthly, 100 per cent vegan market. Were you surprised that one hadn’t been established before?
Miriam: We were very surprised, but also encouraged by the fact that the feedback was so positive.
Simon: Yes, a little bit. But given the fact that the vegan movement has only recently started to take off, it was only going to be a matter of time.
Why do you think the vegan food movement is connecting with so many people?
Miriam: Veganism isn’t just about the food; it’s a mindset and inevitably a lifestyle. More and more people feel that there’s something ‘not quite right’ in how we live our modern lives. By adopting a vegan mindset, we change the way we perceive our environment, and instead of just reacting to it, we have the chance to actively shape our world on a more conscious level.
Simon: And as more information comes to light, more people are becoming more compassionate about how they make their choices.
What makes a great vegan market?
Simon: A great variety, friendly atmosphere and run by vegans. A great location also helps.
Tell us about some of the food on offer? As well as vegan food trucks, will there be produce and other vegan foods?
Miriam: During the application process, we made sure to have a variety.
Simon: There’s going to be a fantastic assortment of handmade vegan desserts, cakes, pies, spices and much more.
You’ll be offering more than just fresh food though. What other vegan products are there and how many stallholders will there be?
Miriam: We have about 20 confirmed stallholders and more requests are coming in daily.
Simon: We will have fashion, pop art, children’s books, gumboots and some dry food stalls.
Do your stallholders have to have some certification to ensure their products are 100 per cent vegan?
Miriam: Upon application we ask everyone to fill out a form that covers this question. It’s an honesty-based system and everyone’s been honest so far.
Simon: At the moment there’s no official certification, it’s something we’re looking to bring in as the first vegan certification as the market progresses.
It might be hard to choose, but do you have a favourite vegan stallholder or food truck?
Simon: At the moment Woking Amazing, but after I’ve tried the desserts, I might have a new one. 😊
Miriam: I have a sweet tooth and I’m a woman, so anything sweet and fashion related is always a favourite. But I love the variety in general.
For people planning on coming not just this weekend, but next month as well, will there be more or different food-stalls taking part for future markets.
Simon: We’ve already got people who have confirmed their attendance at the next market, and we will have more variety and stalls with the next markets.
What do you say to people who say they can’t live without eating meat? What’s your go to vegan food to win over the meat lovers?
Simon: I’m fascinated at the amazing array of vegan options for all food types. I’ve got an amazing vegan chicken satay dish that’s absolutely mind-blowing.
Miriam: I just show my muscles and smile!
What’s your favourite vegan meal?
Miriam: I love the variety of vegan cheeses. It blows my mind how similar they taste to dairy cheese.
Simon: There’s some absolutely amazing vegan Asian cuisine out there, so that makes it hard to pick only one.
And the market isn’t just for vegans. It’s for the whole community to experience?
Simon: Yes, I urge everyone who is curious and who has an open mind to come and experience the amazing alternatives the Vegan Mini Market is showcasing.
Miriam: Yes, we want to give everyone a platform to be surprised, entertained, nourished and maybe even inspired by vegan produce and products.
What else do you have planned between now and the last market in December?
Miriam: I’ll continue to write my vegan children’s books and perfect my admin skills for future Vegan Mini Markets.
Simon: I’m back at University and continue to run my comedy night in Melbourne’s CBD. We’re also in the midst of planning another vegan retreat down the Great Ocean Road.
The Vegan Mini Market takes place from 8am – 2pm on the first Saturday of every month for the remainder of 2017. Stallholders will be located at the front of the Convent site near Gate One, accessed via St Heliers Street.