International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
IVU logo 35th World Vegetarian Congress
'Food for all our futures'

Heriot Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland
July 8-14, 2002
Hosted by

The Vegetarian Society
of the United Kingdom

The International Vegetarian Congress:
The highlight of National Vegetarian Week 2002

By Jane Bowler (editor of The Vegetarian - VSUK magazine)
This article first appeared in The Vegetarian, Autumn 2002.

Note: the longer reports are on separate pages for ease of reading, click on the links for those.

With delegates from 29 countries, and up to 20 talks, demonstrations and workshops per day, plus fringe meetings, the 35th World Vegetarian Congress was buzzing from Day One. I was delighted to meet fellow veggies from America and Canada, Sweden, France, Japan, Spain, India, Brazil and Uganda. It was a real challenge for The Vegetarian Society to host the Congress in Scotland, and we rose to the occasion with faultless vegan catering, a packed agenda and some great tours of the region for delegates. I've picked a few of the highlights to whet your appetite for the next Congress.

Monday: roots and shoots

Tuesday: a diet or a philosophy?

Wednesday: a day out
Wednesday was a day out for most of us, with coach trips to Rosslyn Chapel and Loch Lomond. I spent a day walking around Edinburgh. I visited Henderson's Salad Table, off the main shopping street, for a reviving cuppa and a substantial sugar-free flapjack, and later treated myself to a sophisticated lunch at BANN vegetarian restaurant, just off the Royal Mile.

Thursday: environmental issues

Friday: more interviewing
Friday was a half-day, with more tours running during the afternoon, to Edinburgh and the surrounding countryside. I spent the afternoon with the vegsoc staff on the congress helpdesk, and although by this stage most people knew where they were going, there were still a few problems to fix - finding some more paper for the printer at the cyber café, giving advice about the local bus service, storing luggage, selling raffle tickets and greeting a few new arrivals. My reaction when vegetarian cookery writer Rose Elliot arrived even surprised me - I said 'Oh! You're Rose!' Her face was very familiar, as I am a big fan and have lots of her recipe books! She in turn was delighted to have been greeted in such a positive way! She had come to the Congress to do some cookery demonstrations, and to give a short speech at Saturday night's Gala Dinner. Rose is The Vegetarian Society's newest Patron, joining Sir Paul McCartney, Stella McCartney and Jerome Flynn. Later that afternoon, I was able to do a full interview with Rose for this magazine.

Saturday: essential health issues

Thanks to the following companies who helped to publicise The World Vegetarian Congress, either by distributing flyers or by placing an advert on their website:

Veggie Ventures, Vegetarian Shoes, Freerangers, Vegetarian Matchmakers. Thanks also to those restaurants who displayed flyers on their premises: Anna Puma Vegetarian Restaurant, Baked Potato Shop, Banns Vegetarian Cafe, Black Bo's, Cornerstone Cafe, Engine Shed Cafe, The Greenhouse, Hellos Fountain, Hendersons, Isabels Cafe, Kalpna, Legumes, Suruchi and finally, Susie's Wholefood Diner.