Garden Party Fun!

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Well, the Sun finally made an appearance, just in time for the VON Garden Party and sponsored walk! Hurrah! Being a yoga teacher, I had of course gone a bit mad with the sun salutations in hope of a pleasant day and we were not let down! This was perfect weather for the event, held on 22nd July, at  VON HQ,  Anandavan (Place of Peace), 58 High Lane, Manchester, the home of David and Jane in Chorlton, the co-founders of VON.

Fifteen walkers from 10 years upwards headed out to The Meadows for a 6 mile round journey taking in some lovely countryside, including Sale Marina.  Part of the walk is by the river Mersey whose banks are alive with the sound of music whistling through the reeds, where, some walkers claim, amongst the flora and fauna they spotted at least one Beatle – the one who is vegan. Others say that Carl Lewis, winner of nine Olympic gold medals,and named “Athlete of the 20th Century” joined in just to enjoy the company of fellow fit vegans.

More than £1000 was raised from the sale of food and donations for VON and Animal Aid. Over 100 people  supporting the event, revelled in the sun, music and our special quiz. Chorlton residents, known as the BOHOS (Bohemians), a cosmopolitan mix of social activists, revolutionaries, vegans, vegetarians and academics loved identifying the photos of 16 assorted faces who had in common that they were all vegan or vegetarian reformers.

There was much interest in the vegetable garden and the vegan organic method of cultivation. One lesson we continually learn is the importance of raising the awareness of vegans that the vegan food they purchase (unless they are fortunate to live near a stockfree organic farm) is grown from the by-products of the slaughterhouse and animal faeces. If not certified organic it is grown with synthetic fertilisers. Also, green manures were a new concept for some of our party guests. This enabled the purpose of VON and the reason for the fund raising event to be discussed.

Considering there were quite a lot of vegan and animal welfare events on in and around Manchester on the same day we had a great turn out. The children loved the games – throwing rolled up socks at a heap of stacked up tin cans, jenga, bats and balls and hula hoops and the adults happily joined in. Yet the highlight for the children was the circus apparatus and rickshaw rides generous donated by the all vegan Circus Zapparelli. I feared for the particular children in the back of the rickshaw I was driving as we meandered through Chorlton but my ringy bell and impromptu lollipop men and women did us proud.

The food, prepared and donated by Cherry and her team of willing helpers was a  real treat; a great selection of hot and cold vegan delights, including curry, hot dogs, bean salad, courgette and mint couscous to name a few. The cakes in particular were stunning (I still have to get three recipes for my mum who is still raving on about them!).

We had Mamu, working his magic as a Green Wood Worker and a host of talented musicians and singers such as Gareth, Belinda and Steve playing accordion. At one point I too felt like breaking into song yet that would possibly have cleared the garden!

Izaak, who collected over £200 from his sponsors, had a colourful stall with lots of well kept Lego for sale.  The bric-a- brac had my children coming home with building blocks, a set of old soldier skittles and 2 quaint, graceful, musical dolls. Loren, (a young veggie neighbour) made strikingly beautiful hand-made cards as her contribution to the event. I hope others picked up some interesting bits too.

Thanks to Lucy (of Australian banana farm fame see article in our latest Growing Green Magazine), the lions, tigers and zebras did indeed lie down with the lamb – and other animals. Her expertly face-painted children cavorted happily with everyone present. Lucy also contacted companies requesting donations for the Vegan Chocolate Tasting – many thanks for their generous support to Plamil, Venture Foods, Go Max Go Foods,, also thanks to Panda Liquorice and Good Hemp for donating Good Oil. And of course well done Lucy for her persuasive and friendly phone calls.

My Mum and Dad came to the event too, not vegan, and said what a fabulous time they had, with good people, excellent food and yes, that thing we’d forgotten existed – sun!

I burnt my shoulders and ate too much cake but who cares, I had fun, my family had fun, I think pretty much everyone had fun. And you know what, not a single animal was hurt, abused or endured suffering for our wonderful afternoon.

Daniel, VON events organiser, thanks all those who so generously gave their time in helping make this such an enjoyable event. Also to the sponsors of Izaak and Richard.  As Izaak said – I’m 10 years old and have been a vegan for 10 years – if you would like to sponsor me and help VON, I’ll do another walk,  It’s not too late!

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