What you need to know
Taiwan’s leading zero/low waste allium-free plant based festival returns for a glorious celebration this coming Sunday centering nativity cheer with an afternoon in Taichung’s Culture Forest Park. Highlights include a performance from SoSo Heroes, the band of Golden Horse Leading Actress Nominee and Golden Bell Best Hostess winner Pio Lee.
A hope of having her daughter enjoy traditional holidays despite dietary restrictions has inspired Chelsea Chang to create No Meat Market in Taiwan. From a small 30 vendor event in Taichung, the market has once gathered 130 vendors at their biggest event in New Taipei. The latest event is taking place on Sunday in Taichung with 50 booths and musical performances by vegan celebrities including Pio Lee, who was nominated for a Golden Horse award.
No Meat Market follows Taiwan Vegan Frenzy, the first vegan lifestyle fair in Taiwan, with a raucous punk rock vibe harkening to the straight edge anti-establishment notes of the meatless subculture. In contrast, No Meat Market takes a softer approach, integrating seamlessly into the hipster market scene and collaborating with local educational institutes, non-profits, and even religious philanthropic establishments such as the Buddhist Tzuchi Foundation, which provided food relief to some Taiwanese residents during the pandemic.
The News Lens spoke with No Meat Market planner Ellen Chen (陳昱萱) on what sets No Meat apart from other similar events and why this particular rendition is worth a trek to Taichung again.
What is the inspiration for the theme “Find Your Star of Bethlehem”?
According to legend, there is a special star named Bethlehem. After Jesus was born, Bethlehem guided the three wise men, aka. Biblical Magi, to find Jesus. The No Meat team liked this idea very much, so we want to invite everyone to find their own star of Bethlehem. Let the star guide everyone to the world of No Meat, where lives would be respected and loved.
Explain the tagline: “Christmas Star ★ No Meat Start VEGAN．LOVE．PEACE．KIND．SUSTAINABILITY”
“No Meat” is a lifestyle. It is not only a standard diet, but also a way of thinking that centers “respect for life and being kind to the earth.” We completely reject products that require a lot of work from animals and destroy the natural laws of survival. For example, at the No Meat Festival, the food is not just “vegetarian,” even honey, milk, and eggs can’t be found. Products such as wool and leather are not welcome at the No Meat Festival as well. The makeup and skin care products cannot be tested on animals. We also discourage everyone from engaging in any animal based entertainment such as zoos or marine museums.
“No Meat Festival 5.0” happens to be held in December. There is a big day, Christmas, that everyone has been looking forward to. This holiday has many warm meanings. That’s why we used “Find Your Star of Bethlehem” as the title of this event and then created a subtitle “Christmas Star ★ No Meat Start.” If everyone finds their own star of Bethlehem, the star will lead them to start the life of “No Meat.” Therefore, no matter whether we are painting the poster or communicating with vendors, our staff adhere to the guidelines of “No Meat,” which I mentioned above. To pique everyone's interest in “No Meat,” and hope they will practice it in daily life.
What do each of the star points represent in this context?
The five points of the Bethlehem star represent: Vegan. Love. Peace. Good. Sustainability. If you take it apart to explain, it's…
Love: Everyone’s heart is filled with love
Kindness: Then everyone would think and behave kindly.
Vegan: Reduce the use of or diet of animal-based ingredients in daily life.
Sustainability: Cherish our natural resources.
Peace: Hold the above beliefs and bring peace to the world.
Any new vendors/must-see or try foods?
“No Meat Festival 5.0” is much bigger than the previous event. Not only the vendors we used to see before, but also many new vendors join this market. This time, we invite some stalls to bring products made from natural materials and can be reused. Reusable containers will show people how to reduce plastic, those are also sold without packed. So, there will be no extra garbage!
About the food, our team has always had a tacit understanding and persistence that no vendors can sell the same food. We communicate and taste the food in advance with the manufacturers to ensure products are not duplicated. You can find Japanese, American, Italian, Middle Eastern, French Desserts, Taiwanese snacks or creative fusion dishes...etc. at the No Meat Festival. Visiting No Meat Festival is like participating in the United Nations, Food Edition. I sincerely recommend everyone join “No Meat Festival 5.0.” It’ll exceed your expectations!
What has been the biggest challenge for this event compared with previous ones?
In fact, each No Meat Festival is the biggest challenge for our team. Every time an event is held, the team members grow a lot. Our team members keep breaking through their limitations. But the scale of “No Meat Festival 5.0” is much bigger than before. Not only the number of vendors attending, but also the bigger stage and performers. Even so, the No Meat team still hopes to make all the details perfect.
In terms of venues, we constantly communicate with partners and manufacturers to achieve the goal of “zero-waste.” We choose secondary-use materials or stuff that can be recycled and reused to decorate. Not causing any environmental burden after this event is our highest purpose.
In the vendor section, because we had a lot of vendors sign up, the team members spent a lot of time communicating with the vendors one by one. To pass on our “No Meat” to the vendors. We first confirmed that the vendors are acceptable and willing to support “zero waste” in action. For example, no business cards and flyers are allowed to be distributed. And there must not be disposable garbage such as bamboo skewers and baking paper on the dishes. Then, we further discussed the dishes with the manufacturers so that none of the foods are repeated.
The two points above are the persistence of the No Meat team; and they are also the most time-consuming challenges.
Considering how far you’ve come, what is the next step for No Meat?
The spirit of “No Meat” has become well known gradually. The next step is to do charity activities, and to do it more creatively. I hope we are not only able to help groups in need, but also to let them understand what is meant by “No Meat.” I hope that everyone will change their lifestyles together. More and more people can love the earth and cherish the resources we have, from food, clothing, shelter, transportation, education, and conscientious fun so that we may affect more people.
The above interview has been edited for clarity and grammar.
Date｜ 12 / 19
Location｜ Wen-Hsin Forest Park 文心森林公園
Please Prepare｜ Eco containers and utensils, handkerchiefs
Partners｜ Greenpeace & Leezen
Design｜ Doris Wu & Sharon Kuo
FB Event | TNL Editor: Bryan Chou, Nicholas Haggerty (@thenewslensintl)
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