Where's the beef? Not at this well-attended vegan market in Calgary

Cowtown may be seeing a little reduction in beef consumption, if this weekend's vegan market is any indicator.

Shopper who's new to vegetarianism describes it as 'an awakening'

A vegan market in southwest Calgary was well attended Saturday afternoon. (Kate Adach/CBC)

Cowtown may be seeing a little reduction in beef consumption, if this weekend's vegan market is any indicator.

Organizers of the Little Vegan Fall Market in Calgary's Marda Loop area believe more than a thousand people turned out to shop for animal-free products.

Kim Hirtle organized the event, inviting three dozen vendors to take part.

"It's such a nice feeling to show up to a space where everyone is living that lifestyle or they're vegan-curious or maybe they just want to see what's going on," Hirtle said.

Kim Hirtle organized the event, inviting three dozen vendors. (Kate Adach/CBC)

Nan Thammanatr loves how many people want animal-free products today.

When she moved here seven years ago, she took a chance and opened her own vegan restaurant, the Thai Vegan Cafe on Macleod Trail.

"There were not many vegetarian options at all," Thammanatr said.

But now, she finds that's all changed.

"We just keep expanding."

Nan Thammanatr says there were not a lot of vegan options in Calgary seven years ago, so she opened a restaurant on Macleod Trail called the Thai Vegan Cafe. (Kate Adach/CBC)

Jenelle de Jesus is new to the lifestyle. She's been meat-free for about a year.

"It's like an awakening, that consciousness of being able to make the choice and those relationships and how we impact other beings around the world, the environmental impact," de Jesus said.

"It's kind of nice to have those conversations with more people in the community."

She's eager to get her kids to try vegan treats too.

Jenelle de Jesus has been a vegetarian for about a year now. (Kate Adach/CBC)

Meanwhile, Hirtle says Saturday's event, the third of its kind, was a hit.

"It's been a steady flow of people all day long," she said with a laugh.

Just over a year ago, Hirtle started her own vegan baking company called Soy Milk and Vinegar.

"In Calgary itself, there seems to be an ever-growing population of vegans, so as they grow, the need for product will also grow and the need for services will also grow," Hirtle said.

The next event will be in the spring.

With files from Kate Adach


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