Madison Vegan Fest showcases passion for vegan food, animal rights

MADISON, Wis. — Madison Vegan Fest made its return Saturday after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. The free community festival celebrates the vegan lifestyle with food vendors, exhibits, speakers and live music.

“We’re celebrating compassionate living and exposing more people to vegan foods, vegan ideas, vegan vendors, and non-profits that help non-human animals,” said Sara Andrews, one of the event organizers.

Andrews is Vegan. She said the event is all about spreading the word about veganism and its impact to make a difference for animals, the environment, and the health of the community.

“Of course, I’m happy that it uses way less energy and creates way less pollution as well,” said Andrews in reference to her vegan lifestyle.

Andrews said that being vegan is about more than just the food you consume.

“I don’t think veganism is easy, because it’s a philosophy, not food choices,” said Andrews.  “I think the food part is really easy, from an ethical standpoint, I think it’s the right thing to do. Especially if you are a person who believes that you love animals, but you don’t really know how a lot of your choices are affecting animals.”

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Emma Cameron was a volunteer at Madison Vegan Fest. Her booth at the Fest was dedicated to answering questions about veganism.

“Veganism is all about trying to reduce harm to other living beings,” said Cameron.

Cameron said that, even though some people believe becoming vegan can limit your options, there are lots of products out there that are vegan.

“It was 2015 that I moved to Wisconsin, and there weren’t any vegan restaurants around,” said Cameron. “There were a couple of vegan options at menus and whatnot, and since then, it’s really grown quite a lot.”

Andrews’ thoughts matched Cameron’s.

“People think it’s limiting, but I think people actually expand their diets when they become vegan. As strange as that might sound, because they try foods they haven’t tried before.”

“In Madison, there are so many restaurants that have vegan options,” said Andrews. “Anyone with access to a grocery store can make vegan food.”

Andrews said she recognizes that there could be financial or cultural issues with becoming vegan, but that people should try the best that they can if they care about the issue.

“We have this fest so people who are curious can come and try the amazing vegan food here and see the incredible variety.”

More information on the event is available on its Facebook page and on its website.