OMG we are super excited to hear about Vegomassan the first vegan festival in Sweden! Daniel Rolke one of the founders tells us more!
Well last year we set the record again with 5,200 people visiting us in a day. Most likely this year will be a one day event and it might have a twist to it, so lets wait and see. The next fair will be held on June 10th 2017 and l go with the summer theme. There will be lots of vegan ice cream!
Sounds amazing Daniel – so are you the main organiser? Who works with you?
I was one of the creators of Vegomassan. We did the first one in Sweden back in 2007. At that time we has a very small place and was afraid that no people would come as it was the first time ever there was a veggie fair in Sweden. We also decided to make it 100% vegan and we are proud of that. Since then we have organised 10 fairs.
Proud organizer is the organization Djurrättsalliansen (Animal Rights Alliance). The fair has become a very popular, well-known event for all vegetarians, vegans and curious omnivores in the country since it started.
10 fairs – that’s brilliant – do you organise these as a business then?
All the profit we make from this goes back into our organisation and mainly vegan campaigning and organising the next fair and also to organise the vegan challenge and do vegan outreach work. All the people helping out are volunteers.
What’s the main aim of the event?
Vegomässan´s concept is simple; to collect the most companies and organizations selling veg products or working with vegrelated issues under one roof for one day. For us it has also been important to let animal rights organisation and sanctuaries be a part of the fair. The fair holds something for everyone whether you are already veggie, vegan or curious about a greener lifestyle and in search for inspiration.
Although VeggieVision TV has viewers all over the world we are UK based…. so would you like to see people from the UK coming over? Do you have many visitors from the UK anyway?
We have visitors from the UK and would love to get more to come. Sweden is a great country for vegans – the home country of Swedish glace, Oumph! and Oatly! We have lots of hotels doing vegan breakfasts and the amount of restaurants and cafe in Sweden that are vegan or where you can get vegan options are very long, so it is well worth coming here for a weekend. And maybe visit the beautiful archipelago of Stockholm at the same time.
Sounds super – I want to book my flight now…. ! So what is it like being vegan in Sweden?
These days it is so easy to be vegan. Most supermarkets have so many options for vegans, like their own butter, creams, milk and the options are endless. In Stockholm we have lots of vegan pizza places, lots of fine dining restaurants, places where we can have waffles, crepes, raw food and so many veggie places to go. It has never been easier to be vegan in Sweden. Stockholm also has a vegan shoe shop called Green Laces and 2 vegan magazines called Vego and Vegourmet, sold in normal shops. In 7-eleven you can get vegan hot dogs or fake meat wrap.
How many vegans are there in Sweden?
According to a survey done in 2014, 4% of Sweden’s population is vegan and 10% vegetarian. And it is a growing number!
Amazing! Are most of the people who came to your event already vegan?
We have a good mix of people and we want it to be something for everyone there. We love to have people not already vegan come and make them feel welcome and try out new food and get new impressions.
At the same time we love to be an oasis for veggies and vegan. For one day we set the standard.
No one has to read ingredients or ask if things are vegan. At Vegomassan we give people a chance to be the norm.
In the UK most people seem to be vegan for animals, in America it seems to be more health related… are most people who are vegan in Sweden vegan for animals, heath or any other reasons?
My impression is that most people are vegan for the animals – and there are also all kind of vegans – some do it for their health, some for the environment.
Tell us about you Daniel…. When did you go vegan? What inspired you?
I´ve always been an animal lover since I was a kid, feeding stray cats and hugging every animal I saw. I went to my first animal rights protest as a meat eater when I was 13 and was told about vegetarianism. That evening my family had pizza and I choose the vegetarian one. Shortly after I took the step towards veganism, which was not easy back then. You had to go to a health food store to get soya milk and it was not as tasty as they are today. Things like cream, cheese and meat alternatives were just a distant dream. So we have come a long way. And here I am, 26 years later, still vegan, still fighting for animal rights.
A brilliant story Daniel! What do you like most about your event?
I like the fact that it is our day. A day where all the kids that are refused vegan food in schools can come and feel normal. Where people can bring sceptical family members and friends and show them all the alternatives to animal products. I like the fact that our fair has inspired many people to set up vegan businesses and helped people go vegan. And it is a day filled with joy and love.
Well just to wrap up and make us hungry…What is a traditional Swedish dish that is vegan or can be changed to be vegan friendly as we may want to try it to get us all inspired about coming over in June!?
I would say meat balls. That is very traditional and we have several vegan options of them. Together with mash, a brown sauce and lingonberry. That’s the best! And for dessert how about a delicato ball, that are accidentally vegan. It is a rich and creamy mocca ball covered in shredded coconut.
Thanks Daniel and huge congratulations from us veg*ns over there in the UK! Stockholm – we will see you soon!