It’s been one month since I went freelance which I previously wrote about.
Over this time I haven’t really known what to say to the good old “what do you do?” question which you suddently notice EVERYONE always wants to ask when you don’t really have an answer. “I’m a freelancer” is a bit vague.
“Freelance in what?”
“I don’t know really…. eh, veganism?
I’m a full-time vegan.”
That isn’t my actual response. Not only have I been a fully fledged vegan for over two years but my job isn’t actually being vegan. However it has guided what I choose to do, how and why – including the step to become self-employed.
So whilst I’m very much still figuring out plenty of things about what I do or hope to do these past few weeks have give me plenty of opportunities to reflect on how central veganism is to that.
I spent one day last month hanging out solely with vegans I’d met via the internet. Sounds odd but reflecting on this has shown me how important the community that I’ve engaged with is on realising a collective vision. This day included visiting the Hockney exhibition with Emi who brought me a bag of groundnuts from a recent trip to Zambia. Really thoughtful as we’d only met once before but she totally gets who I am (thanks internet). Later I chatted with Damien and Judy of Vevolution to get some advice of focusing my career on working towards a vegan future. We met up at the always-bossing-it Club Mexicana‘s new joint at Dinerama, Shoreditch where I also hung out with my vegan gal pals Ava and Tsouni (both who I met via this wonderful web last year). At Club Mex I was grateful to meet even more fab vegans IRL including Kish (Tinie Tempeh) and Marco and Carla of the best vegan pies in London fame: Young Vegans. All of this is notable as I have come across so many wonderful, friendly, funny and welcoming people through the vegan community that are all working towards a shared goal of equality. The view that vegans are angry militants is a misconstruct based on a small few that frustratingly can shout louder than others. When you engage with the positive core of the community it’s inspiring to realise what we can achieve together.
I have also started working for plant-powered street food business SpiceBox which has not only opened by eyes to the other side of street food but also provided more opportunities to meet different people and have new conversations.
On my first few shifts at Alchemy Festival it was refreshing to hear people’s joy when they say “is it ALL vegan?” (playing spot the vegan is a fun game) but conversely there’s the important side of trying to demonstrate to those that want pork not jackfruit and chicken not cauliflower that plant-based foods really are the bomb.
My fondest memory of that long bank holiday weekend was an ex-military guy from Manchester who was en route to Wembley to see Blackpool play (or something just as confusing as that. He lost me at football). He was hungry and planned to get Burger King but stumbled across the market and thought what we were serving looked good. Not au fait with vegan food I loved his let’s give it a go attitude. He came back when he’d finished it to let us know it was incredible. Job done!
I’m now working freelance as SpiceBox’s operations manager – a fantastic opportunity to be at the heart of a developing vegan business and play a part in it’s growth.
My other work in this first month of freelance life has included starting some projects with vegan partner-in-crime and pal Charlie May. We might have first joined forces through a three-legged race but have since realised a shared vision around veganism. We want to create projects that raise awareness of how to be vegan – partly through healthy, delicious, accessible food – but also all the other aspects of it including the aim to create a more compassionate world through conscious living.
Our first co-venture was yesterday at Leicester Vegan Market where we served up rainbow boxes (salads so pimping you’ll never look at an iceberg lettuce again) plus raw and gluten-free but decadent cakes and brownies. There was a fab community vibe – not least cause CMB’s mum, nan, grandad, brother, nephew and pals all came down to support us – but also through the genuine conversations we struck up including with a 70-year-old man who became vegan four years ago as he realised the benefits it would have on his health, for animals and for the planet. See, it’s never to late!
Today me and Charlie-May are at it again. This time focussing on one of our other shared interests – film – to raise awareness and educate around veganism. We’re screening the ‘unofficial-vegan-Jesus’ Simon Amstell’s film Carnage followed by a panel discussion featuring Mike Hill from One Planet Pizza, the aforementioned Tsouni Cooper of Yes It’s All Vegan fame and actor Will Rastall who plays a future vegan in the film. Again we’ll be serving up some tasty treats and will also have goodies and prizes from awesome companies including Snact, Bright Zine, Hippeas, Pip and Nut, Clearspring, One Planet Pizza and Nutty Cacao.
Between us we have tonnes of ideas – and about sixteen jobs – therefore need to sit down and plan what and how we want to achieve. So watch this space for whatever plans we hatch or check out my new website www.saretapuri.com which I’ll update on my various projects and eventually will integrate all of this blog’s content.
Until then I’m off to have a cracker.