It's been a incredible year for Dorset Vegan.
In a year which has seen our social media following grow to over 6,500, it's been a thrill to watch our local vegan community thrive and to play a small part in helping people discover a cruelty-free vegan lifestyle.
I've picked out just a few of this year's highlights to share with you, both personally and for the local vegan community as a whole. I'd love to hear what your favourite parts were in the comments.
Thank you for all your support and here's to a very happy vegan New Year!
The launch of not one but two local vegan businesses!
Bournemouth welcomed its second vegan cafe in the form of Sweet Greens, specialising in raw and organic food and juices. Now a much loved part of the community, it's hard to believe it's only a year old!
Over in Poole, Kate's Dairy Free Cakes also arrived on the scene and very quickly started to make a name for itself! Kate wowed us with her decorative celebration cakes and delicious cupcakes. Offering both gluten free and soy free cakes, she has become a go-to baker for many local brides and those in need of a cupcake fix!
The news of the month was the discovery that the Bournemouth Pizza Company had a regular stock of vegan cheese! The restaurant with its wood-fired oven has since become a regular haunt for many of us. In fact, they've had so many new vegan customers that vegan pizza has since been added as an official option on the menu.
I was thrilled to see the launch of another vegan cake business! Vegan Heart Cakes specialise in home made baked and raw cakes made with passion and love. Several Bournemouth cafes now stock their tasty goods, creating lots more places for us all to eat out. You can find the latest list of stockists here.
I was honoured to be asked to give a talk on activism at the Bristol Vegfest. Around 40 people came along to find out different ways to use their personal skills to grow their local community both online and offline.
It was time for the Bournemouth Vegan Fair! Almost 2,000 of you came along to celebrate all things vegan and to shop and eat until you dropped! As our flagship event, our goal is to show people how easy, delicious and nutritious vegan living can be and I think it's safe to say we are definitely dispelling some of those old fashioned stereotypes! For a flavour of the day, take a look at this blog.
Another very exciting month! It started with the opening of Bournemouth's first 100% vegan healthfood shop, Sunrise Organics. Although still very young, they're going from strength to strength and I can't wait to see them grow and develop all the ideas they have as we move into 2016.
I was delighted to be invited to the first TeenVGN summer camp to share some tips about event management. It was an inspiration to be surrounded by so many passionate and engaged young people!
August also saw the very first Dorset Vegan meet up. It was fantastic to meet so many of you! I'm looking forward to organising many more in 2016.
November's highlight was definitely Dorchester's very first vegan fair! Around 1,000 of you joined us to enjoy delicious food and vegan goodies from around 40 stalls. We attracted the attention of the local press and it was a privilege to be invited to talk all thing vegan on BBC Radio Solent and in the local paper.