From meats to beets and inside the amazing world of hemp – it’s the city’s first large scale event dedicated to the joy of plants.

Southampton Vegan Festival kicks off this weekend with dozens of stalls, talks, demos and activities aimed at Hampshire meat-eaters.

Ellie Ataie from Freemantle is getting her veg in line for the city’s first large-scale vegan festival.

The mum of one and Southampton University student has set her sights on bringing a healthier way of life to more people with a major two day event at a city venue.

With two floors of stalls selling everything from gluten-free cosmetics to soy wax candles and edible seaweed, the event is a chance for everyone to find out more about the latest products on offer.

Ellie said: “There have been small vegan events in Southampton before but I wanted to attract people who aren’t already vegan to come.

“I became vegan about three years ago. I did the one month vegetarian challenge, found it really easy and used an app to measure my carbon footprint. It said I should either give up my car or meat, so I gave up meat. Then I started learning about animal welfare and the environment and just kept it up. And when my doctor told me I had IBS I started looking at my diet and cut out dairy – and my health became much better. My husband Zahir is vegan at home and my baby is as well. It’s not dangerous – she can get all her proteins from pulses”.

But she says the rise of the vegan food industry has a lot to do with social change.

Ellie added: “It’s becoming more popular because with rise of globalisation and technology there’s a bigger awareness of social issues. We’ve had women’s rights and LGBT rights – but now it’s time for animal rights because they don’t have voices and more and more people are speaking out for animals”.

And although in her final year studying sociology and anthropology Ellie has found the time to put the festival on because she’s always wanted to run her own business.

Also there will be speakers including food nutritionist Tony Bishop-Weston who promises a “comedic” presentation. He said: “People are hungry for more. Even a little vegan festival in Brockenhurst got visited by over 1,000 people.

“It’s a bit like stopping smoking. Once you’ve stopped it’s hard to rationalize why you did that or thought that in hindsight and with the benefit of a little new found logic”.

There will also be yoga and meditation sessions and a chance to try out products as well as expert talks, cookery demos and a kids zone with soft play for babies and toddlers as well as activities for older children.

The festival takes place on November 4 and 5 at Oceana. Tickets start at £4.

November 4


10:30 - Beginning of Day One

11:00 - The Forgotten Farm Animals - Kayley Wells

12:00 - An Insight into the Amazing World of Hemp - Gail Dunsbee

13:00 - 'From Meats to Beets' - Transitioning to a Vegan Diet in the Fitness Industry - Mitch Lee

14:00 - Why Be Vegan - The Benefits to You, the Planet and the Animals - Tony Bishop-Weston

15:00 - Documentary - What The Health

17:00 - End of Day One

Demos & Activities

11:00 - Buche de Noel Fresh Cleanser - Lush Cosmetics

12:00 - Meditation and Mindfulness - Amritadasa and Kate Luker of Triratna Southampton Buddhist Centre

13:00 - Lentil and butternut squash dahl with garlicky wilted greens and toasted spicy seeds, and coconut raita - Serena Louth of Luna Wellbeing

14:00 - Butterbear Bath Bomb - Lush Cosmetics

15:00 - Surviving on Wild Foods - Eddie Morgan

16:00 - Vinyasa Yoga - Yoga with Candice

17:00 - End of Day One



10:30 - Beginning of Day Two

11:00 - Living a Compassionate Life through a Vegan Lifestyle - Donna Evans

12:00 - To Meat or Not to Meat: A Fruitarian Athlete's Journey - Owen Gayle and

The Belief System: The Misconception Of Meat In The Fitness Industry - Shakiba Moghadam

13:00 - Practical Approaches to Planetary Rehabilitation - Eddie Morgan

14:00 - What is Kinesiology - Melinda Annear

15:00 - Veganism and Environmental Justice: Challenges and Opportunities - Johan Nordensvard

16:00 - Documentary - The Land of Hope and Glory

17:00 - End of Day Two

Demos and activities

10:30 - Beginning of Day Two

11:00 - Catastrophe Cosmetic Fresh Face Mask - Lush Cosmetics

12:00 - Cookery Demo - Nick from LoveSeitan

13:00 - Super fast and healthy mac and cheeze and mini cheeze cakes - Hannah Pinchin

14:00 - Christmas Eve Bubblebar - Lush Cosmetics

15:00 - Laughter for Health and Wellbeing - Lesley Raphael

16:00 - AcroYoga - Hattie Hall and Joey Adams

17:00 - End of Day Two