Attending The Free From Festival – My Experience!

MY EXPERIENCE AT THE FREE FROM FESTIVAL

I’d worked other events in the past, but not one quite like the Free From Festival. Even in the weeks of preparation before the day, I felt somewhat expectant. I was looking forward to being able to try new foods, and meeting the Green Sisters community in person. You can do a lot of work behind a desk, but there’s always value in being reminded of the impact you’re making.

By the time I’d arrived at The Boiler House on Brick Lane, there was a street-long queue. And when it turned 11:00 and the event started, it did not relent! People were still walking in hours later! The reception was instantly welcoming, and it was lovely considering many of them had never met me before.

Because so many people lined up to try some Green Sisters cuisine, I had the opportunity to speak to some customers, and offer the chance to complete our Personality Quiz [Find out how spicy YOU are!] So many of you were returning customers, which is a testament within itself. And then there were the newcomers – to Green Sisters and the Festival itself! – who were drawn in by tiers of samosas and bhajis, and found that their dietary requirements could be met without compromise. The other vendors were incredibly friendly and supportive too!

When visiting the other stalls, I noticed that not many savoury foods were on sale. If you were looking for meals, there weren’t many on offer. This made me wonder about how many allergen-free meals are available in the UK, and how widely available they are. Green Sisters being able to offer meals on the day, as well as their new subscription parcel shows that a need is being fulfilled.

One of my favourite things about Green Sisters is the ’14 Free strip’ – two rows of icons that you can find on their business cards and packaging. We even had it on one of our banners! This design choice was really one of a kind at the Free From Festival. I noticed that you had to search for the allergen information on a lot of other products. And they were usually on the back in a small font. 

Green Sisters on the other hand, highlight their allergen information at the front. It essentially lets you know that their products are free of the UK’s 14 Major Food Allergens: Gluten, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Celery, Mustard, Eggs, Milk, Sesame, Fish, Crustaceans, Molluscs, Soya, Sulphites, and Lupin. I don’t recall having to turn away a single person because we did not suit their dietary requirements. The only time we came close to being apologetic was when we had to inform everyone we’d ran out of samosas.

The Free From Festival was truly a rewarding experience, reminding me of the value of fulfilling a need. So often we can get caught up in the ‘everydayness’ of life, and become complacent or comfortable. We are always working towards something, and last week I was reminded of that. 

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