THE first Vegan Food, Arts, Craft and Holistic Fayre held in Chard raised £1,200 for Lyme Regis-based reforestation charity, The Word Forest Organisation.
The charity plants trees, builds classrooms and facilitates education in Kenya and money raised at the successful fayre will enable them to plant more than 500 trees and buy a considerable amount of building materials for a new classroom.
The event was organised by Helen Roberts, of the Flour Pot Vegan Bakery in Chard, who is also the education trustee for The Word Forest Organisation. Held at Chard Guildhall, it attracted almost 400 ethical consumers, including the Mayor and Mayoress of Chard, who assisted town crier Stuart Cumming to open it in spectacular style.
Mr Cumming – a vegan himself for 23 years – commented: “This is a vegantastic event, one of the largest indoor markets we have seen for years inside the Guildhall. It’s a very positive event for our town!”
Visitors came specifically for the event from as far as Plymouth. There were also holidaymakers from Wales, Scotland, around the UK and even from Italy, and many of the shoppers were alerted to it via BBC Radio Somerset, when Stuart and organiser Helen were interviewed by Claire Carter on the Breakfast Show.
Tim Eggins, organiser of the Earth Hour events in Chard and town councillor for the Green Party, said: “We were amazed at both the quality of the traders and the positive atmosphere the vegan fair created for Chard. Our town has declared a climate emergency and if people move towards a plant-based diet, it’ll be a positive in reducing CO2 emissions.
“Add to that the fact that the fayre also managed to generate revenue to plant trees and absorb carbon dioxide, it’s a win-win for people and planet. We look forward to the next one, with anticipation.”
Chairman of trustees for The Word Forest Organisation, Simon West, explained: “Trees planted in the world’s tropical zones near the equator, like ours in Boré, Kenya, grow incredibly quickly, faster than anywhere else on the planet. A mango tree for example, at five years old will be 12 feet tall and have 100 pieces of fruit.
“So not only do they do a great job of reducing CO2 and other pollutants from the atmosphere, but the commodities from the forest help relieve poverty and hunger too.”
The core team at Word Forest are passionate environmentalists and comprise of vegans and vegetarians. The charity frequently has fundraising stalls at events like this in the South West and is hoping to host one in Lyme Regis soon.
CEO Tracey West commented: “If you want to leave a lighter footprint on the planet, one of the best ways to do it, is by embracing a plant-based lifestyle.
|”Once you lift the lid on the subject and find out that there are animal products in so many things, including sweets, wine and spirits, even orange juice, people often find themselves on a bit of a mission to understanding why and seek alternatives. Events like this give us a perfect opportunity to find out what’s what.”
Organiser Helen added: “Taking care of our planet has never been more prevalent in the news; David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg have explained that planting trees is one of the easiest ways we can do it.
“Well done Chard for getting 500 new trees in the ground and cleaning the air we breathe all over the world.”
The charity has confirmed it will be hosting a fundraising Festive Vegan Fayre at Chard Guildhall on Saturday, November 30.