The Big Vegan Picnic

On Saturday July 7th we hosted our first ever BIG VEGAN PICNIC, to celebrate our 10th organised beach clean event. For a long time we've wanted to get more involved in Vegan activism and this act of attractivism seemed to be a perfect way to start. However, what we did not anticipate was the level of response that this event would garner, expecting far less than the 70 people who came along to join us for a great afternoon of laughs, food and sunshine. Some of the volunteers came all the way from Omagh and others walked from Bangor along the coastal path, taking in the view as they came.

The week before the event we watched the numbers rise steadily from 20-30 to 50 and then pass the 60 mark by Wednesday night when we closed the event and began placing final orders for food and prepping for the event. With this rise came stress and excitement all bundled up together as we scrambled to account for all the extra guests including minor changes to the menu and ordering more coconut bowls. But by the end of the week we were ready.

We headed down to Groomsport for just after 1:30pm and set up the picnic on the grassy bank beside the harbour. Laying out the table with food, cakes and vegan snacks and setting up crates of watermelon, bananas and other items from our online shop. With the blankets ready to go and eager guests looking hungrily on we snapped a quick picture of the table and then got the party rolling. As soon as we saw everyones smiling faces we were able to relax into the event and with nervous and giddy energy that we had managed to pull this off we laughed and served the guests a variety of amazing Vegan food.

We had;

- More than 150 Sandwiches of various flavours (including vegan tuna sweetcorn mayo, vegan BLT and vegan chicken and tomato pesto)

-2 tubs Homemade hummus and gluten free crackers

- Homemade Potato salad

-Mixed Salads

-Hippea Crisps

- Assorted fruit (including watermelon, apples, oranges and bananas)

- Homemade white chocolate, raspberry and lemon muffins

- A large tub of garlic Vegan mayo from Sheena of Truffleupagus Vegan Yums

-2 Cakes and 60 sausage rolls from Erin of Mucho Vegan Cakes

With the guests bringing their own drinks and cutlery and the food served in Coconut bowls we were delighted that everyone who came enjoyed trying all of the various food and we significantly reduced the amount of waste we would create had we provided paper or plastic bowls and utensils for everyone. We also bought locally as much as possible with Helen's bay organic gardens supplying the ingredients for the 3 large salad bowls, as well as the apples and oranges, and the cakes and sausage rolls being made by Mucho Vegan Cakes who is currently based in Newtownards. We were especially blown away by Erin's cakes which as always were both delicious and beautifully decorated, and Sheena was amazing too, sadly we had to throw out her fritters due to potential food poisoning from Tescos frozen sweetcorn, but the garlic mayo was a big hit.

We had so much fun talking to the guests and getting to know some of our regular beach cleaners better, enjoying some tasty vegan food under the sun on another beautiful day. Once finished the guests headed down to the beach , litterpickers and bags in hand to start the clean up whist we did a little clean up of our own to make sure all food scraps went to compost and no litter was left behind because of us. But soon we were heading down to join them on the beach.

Clean up events like this are a great way to meet people and make a difference to the coastal habitats and the larger ocean as well, and today we got to meet a bunch of amazing people all doing their bit for the environment and animals we all love so much. There were many non-vegans there today and it was great to talk to many of them about the issue and show them that they can get simple, tasty alternatives to meat dairy and egg products that aren't just salad and are also much better for your health and the health of the environment.

Our own Vegan journey began almost 2 years ago just before the birth of our son, when, after being vegetarian for a year or so we decided that from all three aspects, ethics, health and love for the environment we could not condone eating animal products of any kind any longer. These days more than ever before it is so easy to switch to a plant based diet, we hope that this event may help a few on their journey to a healthier lifestyle for all.

A big thank you to ISL Waste Management who have been amazing over the last month, collecting the bags from the clean up and taking them away to be recycled. You can find out more about them on their website.

On the day, with the help of our 70 amazing guests we managed to removed 10 bags of litter from the beach. We also had a donations box for our charity partner Sea Shepard UK, an amazing Marine Protection charity, who attempt to combat the litter issue as well as fighting to stop illegal whaling and fishing practices and protect the oceans in any way necessary. We will be donating 60% of the profits from the picnic to Sea Shepard and will take the donations box to all other events this month to try to add onto today's contribution.

A huge thanks to everyone who came down to help us out and we hope you had fun, and enjoyed the food and sunshine with us. We had a blast!

Check out our upcoming events in the events page or on Facebook.

The guests enjoy the harbour view and a tasty treat on colourful cotton bankets.

We had more than 70 people from all over coming down to enjoy the afternoon with us

The food went quickly but we had lots of extras to make sure everyone got plenty to eat.

The Clear Ripple Projects Chocolate Cake!

Look at that blueberry and lemon cake from Mucho Vegan Cakes!

The sign says it all..

Some of the guests doing their bit to make sure not a spot of litter was left on Groomsport beach while we were around.

Just some of the litter you find washed up on the beach

More litter carelessly discarded beside the kids paddling pool.

The 10 bags of litter we removed from the beach today.

We also had a donations box for Sea Shepard UK at the event and donated 60% of profits from the event to them.

Thanks to everyone who came down today, we loved meeting you all!

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