Surrey Vegan’s renowned market event is coming to Epsom this Sunday (October 27).

Since its foundation in 2016, Surrey Vegan has gone in that short time from Facebook group to award winning culinary event that showcases some of the best in plant-based options in the county from cakes to skincare.

Ahead of its Epsom debut, the Comet spoke with founder Louise Simpson.

She said that the growth of the project that aims to bring vegan diet and lifestyle choices to residents in the region had been astounding.

“It started as a Facebook group in 2016. I just wanted to see whether there were any other vegans in the village, and it grew really quickly.

“Eventually a friend and I decided to host a small vegan fair at the Guildford Institute and 900 people turned up!

“We realized we were onto something and later I wanted to get into markets to make vegan food and lifestyle easier and more accessible to everybody,” Louise said.

Surrey Comet: Surrey Vegan Founder Louise SimpsonSurrey Vegan Founder Louise Simpson

She added that this goal to open veganism up to the general public was now informing the direction of Surrey Vegan going forward — to go beyond the more narrow views of vegans as unrealistic or militant show some of the surprising benefits of plant-based diets.

Louise, who is based in Weybridge, was a long-time vegetarian before making the hop across to veganism in 2015.

Her own transition seemed to mirror that of wider UK society, with increasing numbers of vegan-friendly options and specialist places now available on high streets throughout Surrey and across the UK too.

“I realized how things have moved forward and decided to take the next step from veggie to vegan. It was much easier than I thought and things have just grown since then.

“This year was a massive year and around 10 per cent of Brits now identify as vegan and I think it’s becoming normalized,” Louise pointed out.

“People are realizing that vegan food can be easily as good as more traditional foods and often even better,” she added.

Surrey Comet: Surrey VeganSurrey Vegan

This development has surely influenced the remarkable success of the project, which has not gone unnoticed.

Surrey Vegan was recently nominated for ‘Best Vegan Market’ by the prestigious Veg Fest awards.

The project’s appearance in Epsom has also found favour with the Epsom and Ewell Borough Council (EEBC).

A Council spokesperson told the Comet that the council backed the staging of the market in Epsom’s historic town square and explained their reasoning.

“A vegan market seems a natural fit for Epsom, with our large student population, young professional families and residents who look after themselves physically and care about the planet. As well as a tempting array of foodstuff the vegan market includes clothing and skincare,” EEBC said.

“We have made a considerable investment in the Epsom market place (and) as the market place improvements come to fruition we hope residents will see more and more activity in this space, including new traders at our existing traditional market and other markets and events,” the EEBC spokesperson added.

This backing bodes well for Sunday’s market in Epsom, where Louise and her team of traders hope for another impressive turn out.

“I reckon up to 70 per cent of people who come to the markets are not full vegans themselves, and we want non-vegans to see the amazing plant-based options out there,” Louise said.

“Obviously we hope to see as many vegans as possible at the events but we hope to inspire non-vegans to consider these sorts of changes and to consider the environmental and ethical decisions behind choosing plant-based diets too.

“It’s always nerve-racking to be going into a new town but I’m positive that if its anything like our Walton markets it will be amazing!”  

Surrey Vegan Market will open in Epsom this Sunday at 10.30am in the market area outside the Ashley Centre.