I was super excited to find these blatant vegan sliders on my recent to trip to Lakeside. It naturally started a conversation of “well these weren’t around 25 years ago when I went vegan.” And gasps of wow that’s a long time as well as a scattering of vegan seed planting was achieved and continues to be via my feet.

My veganising back in the day comprised of running vegan stalls at events and chatting to anyone who came up to find out more. This grew to me running my fantastic vegan group “Viva! Essex and Vegan Essex”. We organised rather wonderful vegan festivals in Essex where people posted a cheque to me for their ticket and of course without social media or promotion online and we still had around 700 people attend.

I recently came across an interview I did for Vegan Views 20 years ago! It was a small and popular magazine that was posted out to subscribers, Set up in 1975 and continued up until about 7 years ago. I was moved to tears to have the space to think about all of the fantastic veganising we did and delighted it was captured by Vegan Views.

Now my veganising is mainly in the form of sending media releases out for my gorgeous vegan clients, presenting with VegfestUK, running VeggieVision TV, being the vegan editor of VOUZ Magazine and even a sprinkling of vegan chat on my weekly radio that I aim to revive soon.

I won’t ever stop! It’s the best decision I have ever made and like every vegan I know I wish “why didn’t I do it sooner?”

What do you do for your veganising? Perhaps that video you share, the leaflet you hand out or that conversation you have will inspire that person to go vegan…. And then they could go on to inspire others too.

And despite being the bubbly fun positive Essex woman I am – the truth is for me is as an animal rights activist I won’t stop until every cage is empty.

Here’s what we did as a camping vegan group in 2002… I have tears in my eyes reading this!!

We supported Hopefield Animal Sanctuary by fundraising and donations, especially our football match in the summer: The Vegetarians vs The Vegans! We had a good turn out. The boys practised every week for months beforehand! We also supported The Retreat Animal Rescue in Kent and attended their fundraising events. We also support the 2 rescued horses Louis and Dommi and raise money for their keep.

We supported national events such as Animal Aid’s Christmas without Cruelty, Viva!’s Rally against Factory Farming, Viva!’s Kangaroo/Adidas Day, Anti Fox hunting, Anti Macdonald’s, and more.

A few of us supported The Vegan Society AGM & social. I spoke to all the Vegan Society local contacts in the meeting & am delighted that, finally, I got Moby on board as a patron for The Vegan Society.

We had a meeting/get together with other main group leaders in Essex including: Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth, Southend Animal Aid, Southend Veggies & St Francis Foundation. Our members also support London Vegans.

We collected vegan food, toiletries, soft toys and vegan information as a massive hamper for a homeless centre based in Southend this Christmas. We also visited the shelter and met a few of the people that run it.

We organised 10,000 specially Essex designed Vegan Society leaflets – these went out through the local media & restaurants and hopefully encourage other members to do the same.

We handed out 100s of anti eating turkey leaflets at the Hopefield Christmas Carol service and had 100s displayed in local health shops. We had various stalls including boot fairs, street stalls.

I did pre recorded radio interviews with: Passion for The Planet (London, Essex & Kent), Soul City (East London & Essex), Dream 107 (Essex) & took in vegan food, Phoenix FM, BBC Essex & took in vegan food, and Essex FM.

So moved…. and if anyone knows where the past 20 years has flown to please do let me know!

Vegan Shakers: Interview with Karin Ridgers Vegan Views 96 (Spring 2003)