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First vegan festival in Amman offers taste of plant-based diets

By Emily Stewart - Jul 02,2022 - Last updated at Jul 02,2022

The first vegan festival held in Amman was also ‘the first plastic free event in Jordan’, according to the organisers (Photos by Emily Stewart)

AMMAN — The first vegan festival held in Amman on Friday brought homemade food, nutritional advice and yoga sessions amid the backdrop of live music to Jabal Luweibdeh with the participation of nearly 120 people. 

Vendors sold handmade arts, crafts and home-grown food, and guest speakers encouraged veganism and a healthy lifestyle for both humans and the planet. Additionally, there was a booth reserved for goods made by Palestinian women and every festival goer received a free diabetes test.

Tickets cost JD10 for admission and JD30 for a package with yoga and Reiki sessions. Half of the revenue from the tickets went towards helping around 150 stray cats of Jabal Amman and providing them with spaying and neutering services, according to the organisers.

The festival was also “the first plastic free event in Jordan”, an important milestone, according to the event’s organiser, Sara Banna.

“In Wadi Rum, in Petra, there is a lot of plastic. I think that for the good of our country we need to change something. We can do events to give an education to people to teach them that it is not good what we are doing. It’s not good for our health, it’s not good for our nature, it’s not good for our country,” Banna told The Jordan Times. 

One of the guest speakers, nutritionist Hala Beirouty, led a session about vegan and plant-based diets, their benefits and how to implement them. 

When asking who in the crowd was vegan and who was not, Beirouty noted the large number of non-vegans who said they were interested in veganism.

“When I was vegetarian five years ago, you go to the shops and you don’t find anything that’s vegan, you don’t hear about any restaurants that are vegan. Five years to now it’s different — you see it everywhere,” festival goer Manal Beirouty told The Jordan Times. 

Hala Beirouty, the nutritionist, said that the foundations of most popular Arabic dishes are vegan or can easily be made vegan.

“Fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and legumes we can all find in any supermarket, these are the foundation of a plant-based diet,” Hala told The Jordan Times.

According to the nutritionist, meat is widely used in Arabic cuisine, but the festival showed that a vegan lifestyle is accessible and becoming increasingly popular in Jordan.

 

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