I want to take a moment to digress from my usual food rants to show my appreciation for London Vegan Potluck.
London Vegan Potluck came into being over two years ago when I had the idea to create a regular, monthly event that was as much about socialising as it was about vegan food. I wanted to create a safe and welcoming gathering that would always be there for (and because of) the vegans of London.
The event started as a tiny get together of 20 people in the arcade next to the Ms. Cupcake bakery in Brixton. I remember being terrified that nobody would show up, but almost instantly the sense of community surrounding the potluck came to life and we haven’t stopped growing since that first night.
After six months of hosting the event in Brixton, I had to say goodbye to Ms. Cupcake and move London Vegan Potluck to bigger premises. It was just that popular! Thanks to the immense generosity of the Syracuse University London Program and its staff, we were able to secure a huge central London space equipped with everything we needed to make the event a continued success.
We have now been celebrating the potluck in our Holborn location ever since and to say it is a runaway success would be an understatement. The attendance numbers have broken the 100 mark on several occasions and I am always overwhelmed by the number of new attendees I meet every month.
The list of vegan and vegan-friendly companies that have supported the event with samples is mammoth. I am grateful to the traders who have personally attended to not only share their products with us, but to also make connections within the vegan community. I am humbled by the travellers and tourists from around the UK and the world who go out of their way to make London Vegan Potluck a stop on their already packed schedules. We have enjoyed the company of visitors from Australia, France, the USA, Canada, Spain, China and many more locations than I can recall.
It is hard work putting the potluck together every month. I couldn’t even begin to calculate the amount of time I have spent moving chairs, washing dishes, arranging tables, liaising with sponsors, updating websites, answering queries, shopping for supplies and hosting the actual event.
But I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Sure I get irked when people show up with no food to contribute or complain the event doesn’t suit their taste/schedule/sensibilities, but the positive contribution and social capital I see being paid back into my community on the first Wednesday of every single month overrides any negativity.
The immense interest surrounding the potluck led me to create and host the monthly London Vegan Drinks event which is even more successful and draws well over 100 people on the third Thursday of every month. I have received messages from people around the UK who have been inspired by the London event to create their own local potluck. The goodwill generated by that first-ever event in Brixton is infectious and continues to spread.
London Vegan Potluck works to support vegans on their journey to remain vegan, helps the curious and kind-hearted make the transition to a plant-based diet and creates a safe and dependable space for people to exist as compassionate eaters without judgement for two hours each and every month.
In my opinion, all of this improves outcomes for animals, people and the planet. What more could you ask for?
I think every city could do with a monthly vegan potluck. Don’t you agree?