I was a magazine lover long before I was a vegan.
But something interesting happened after I set off on the path of the latter.
As a reader, I am a devoted consumer to this niche of media. I have a strong, long standing and unbridled enthusiasm for a good magazine. Give me a cup of coffee to go and a press shop with stacks and stacks of publications from around the world and I am deliciously content.
I love magazines about food, fashion magazines, magazines about travel. If I find a publication I like, I look up back issues, spending time with every page and story, appreciating the aesthetics, the diversity of content, the stories behind the contributors themselves- the entire magazine experience.
After I became vegan, I soon realized there were a number of titles I could no longer regularly read (or read at all). I wanted magazine experiences like I was so used to having, but without now having to skip over dozens of pages of advertisements or pages upon pages of food photos and recipes I would never again find appetizing. Most of the magazine titles I was used to reading had little appeal for me any longer.
With this piece I wanted to explore the growing range of magazines about veganism worldwide, both print and digital. I wanted to reach out to editors to include their voices and reflections on the establishment and driving force of their publications.
Veganism, at it’s very core, is about justice. It is about ceasing the exploitation of animals for food, fashion, entertainment, products and a myriad of other uses. Veganism is not a diet, it is a matter of ethics and choosing to not take part in a culture that sees animals as product.
However, while veganism is, most critically, an issue of justice, becoming and being vegan allows one to embrace a certain lifestyle. For me, being vegan is an ethical stance, as well as a creed, a philosophy and a lifestyle, a way of living. That way of living has led me to discovery of incredible food (common for vegans), an increased interest in ethical and innovative fashion, and learning about household, cosmetics and beauty products not made from or tested on animals. Becoming vegan has made me aware of scores of animal rights issues. A vegan lifestyle, to me, is a lifestyle of consistent research, of a willingness to be constantly honing awareness, of unwavering commitment, of realization of a whole community of like minded others and of heart.
“The aim of Australian Vegans Journal is to encourage, inspire and nurture vegan leadership across all sectors, industries and spaces where influence and impact can be found: in politics, business, non-profits, social media, community organisations and in everyday life.” -Kathy Divine, Australian Vegans Journal
“I think the typical T.O.F.U. reader is someone who isn’t looking for reasons to become a vegan. They already are, and most likely have been for some time. With this in mind, the magazine aims to address issues beyond veganism that are somehow related and should be considered within a person’s activism. Basically, I’m not trying to convince someone about what they should have for dinner, I’m hoping to show them reasons why their activism should go beyond what’s already on their plate.” -Ryan Patey, T.O.F.U. Magazine
“I define the DNA of Versus as a general, open and engaged vegan magazine. As we are the only one in French, we try to cover all vegan topics and to reach all kinds of vegan (and non vegan) people.” -Martin Gibert, Versus magazine végane
“First and foremost we want to show people that there is really good, satisfying and tempting vegan food out there. And that it is simple to make, cheap, good for the environment,your health and animals.” -Mattias Kristiansson, Matmagasinet Vego
The lifestyle may differ for varying individuals but commonly involves a growing awareness of an incredible world of vegan food. Stockholm based Matmagasinet Vego magazine Editor Mattias Kristiansson started Vego in part due to lack of vegan magazines on the market in Scandinavia. A food centric magazine, Vego is entirely vegan, right down to the advertisements, an exciting trend to witness. With the rapid and recent growth in popularity and production of vegan products, we are in the midst of seeing the marketing for the vegan sector explode. We can witness the journey of these innovative companies right before us and the presentation of their message is thrilling, particularly with the knowledge that it is a very spirited and collective effort on behalf of these companies and consumers increasingly looking for vegan products, to crowd the market and raise the demand.
“Our recent member survey showed that, while most people still go vegan for the animals, other concerns (primarily health and the environment) are also becoming more important to our members. In light of this, it is important to provide content which relates to all of the reasons for which a person might go vegan.” -Elena Orde, The Vegan
On the other hand, a number of vegan publications on the market bear the hallmark of some independent magazines in being proudly advertisement free or scarce on ads. Rochester based Chickpea Vegan Quarterly Editor Cara Livermore notes that “…our favorite aspect of Chickpea is that it’s ad-free, sponsor-free, and all our writers are independent.”
“From the start, we’ve never considered ourselves a traditional magazine – we don’t publish news or products, and don’t have ads. So we’ve thought of ourselves as a mix of a cookbook and a coffee table book. Since we come out quarterly and look like a magazine, we thought it’d be easiest to call ourselves that, though.” -Cara Livermore, Chickpea Magazine
Vlowers, which was founded as a Sunday vegan pop up breakfast in Zurich in 2012, went on to publish their first magazine in February 2015. As many other magazines about veganism, their coverage spans a wide range of themes, including travel, food, literature, cosmetics, sports- themes generally interesting vegans and nonvegans alike. Like other publications about veganism, Vlowers ethical veganism background can be clearly seen in how these themes are covered, as well as by inclusion of regular coverage on farm sanctuaries, animal protection and animal rights and other issues core to the vegan perspective and philosophy.
“Veganism is growing in Switzerland in every area, more vegan restaurants and vegan offers in non-vegan restaurants, more articles in the media, more and more people know what veganism means and you can see a lot of so-called flexitarians becoming more open and familiar with veganism. The mystique about veganism is about to break. And that’s good.” -Sandra Weber, Vlowers Magazin
BLAUFUX, another Swiss publication, was first released in Autumn 2015 and was founded as a publication for the members of the Vegan Society of Switzerland as well as to inform the public about veganism. Amina Abdulkadir, Editor in Chief of BLAUFUX, notes that reception to the magazine has been very good, with readers appreciating the broad range of content.
“BLAUFUX is a culture magazine informing, on the one hand, people who know nothing or little about veganism, about what it means, what it stands for and what they can learn of it and offering and on the other hand, health guidelines, humour and art that have or have not anything to do with veganism. Because after all, vegans are people too, which means they simply enjoy a culture magazine with no cruelty involved.” -Amina Abdulkadir, BLAUFUX
Montreal based Versus magazine végane is (at the time of writing) the sole francophone vegan magazine in the world. In our Q & A, Martin Gibert, Editor in Chief of Versus, expresses his hope that the magazine’s readership is able to discover varying aspects of veganism through its pages but that also the magazine it self serve as “a tool to make the vegan movement to become more conscious of itself.”
“We help our readers become the healthiest, fittest versions of themselves. This is great not only for self-esteem, higher quality of life, and longevity— it is also great for the movement in general. If we want the numbers of vegans to continue to rise, existing vegans have to be able to convince others to evolve in this manner. Having abundant energy and health is the best way to convince others to follow your lead and go vegan. By glorifying vegan athletes who share information on how to succeed athletically, and providing (great tasting, yet super-healthy) recipes, we are unique. We are still the only magazine in the world to focus on vegan fitness. We were the first magazine in the world to promote the science-based health benefits of the vegan diet. We also provide our readers with a community of like-minded vegans through events like our twice-annual Vegan Global Run and our vegan bodybuilding team, as well as health events and expos. ” -Brenda Carey, Vegan Health and Fitness Magazine
“Every vegan publication is doing great work to support the vegan movement. I know that not all vegans are interested in spirituality – some people think it’s a lot of rubbish; however, interest in both veganism and spirituality are increasing and I want Barefoot Vegan to demonstrate how those two things play out in a practical way in everyday life… Refraining from using animals as food, entertainment and for other products is just one part of the solution, and I’m interested in a better world for all of us – animals, humans and nature. That’s what Barefoot Vegan has to offer its readership.”- Emma Letessier, Barefoot Vegan Magazine
Inherent in the mission of many of these publications is not only to fill that specific niche for vegan readership (be it animal rights, politics, recipes, travel or a collective and broad range of themes), but also serving as a mouthpiece to the vegan movement and it’s many goals. The consumer demand for these publications is rooted in the expansion of the vegan movement and growing desire for people to choose veganism as a way of living. As Maria Chiorando, editor of Colchester in Essex based Vegan Life Magazine puts it, “As veganism continues to grow, so will our content and hopefully, our readership.”
“…veganism is going through such an interesting period in terms of how it’s perceived by the public at large. It’s certainly hitting the mainstream. And itis multi-faceted, so thematically, there are many interesting people to profile, as well as environmental issues, animal and nature-related pieces, and political stories to cover.” -Maria Chiorando, Vegan Life
While one might be motivated to only subscribe to vegan lifestyle magazines, or vegan food magazines, or vegan ‘counterculture’ magazines, the growth of this sector is inarguably a cause for celebration and mirrors the growing interest and popularity not only of vegan “diets” but also vegan lifestyle. The more magazines and reading material that exist on veganism the better served the readership, inclusive of vegans and those interested in veganism, is.
A discussion of an entire niche of magazines would be amiss without addressing the digital and paper divide. A number of the publications on veganism are offered as both digital and paper products while some are exclusively one or the other.
Antonio Monaco, Publisher of Vegan Italy (a paper magazine also available digitally) remarks on the importance of making the magazine available in hardcopy as “the Italian market still has an absolute prevalence (more than 80%) of the selling of paper products in regard to the digital ones.”
“For the vegan readers, we help them to totally “touch” the informational needs about nourishing, health, lifestyle, and the substance of how the reality is changing, both in Italy and all over the world, economically, politically, and socially.
For the non-vegan readers, we gave them the possibility to understand the vegan lifestyle beyond the stereotypes and the prejudices of the press and the mainstream media.” -Antonio Monaco, Vegan Italy
Gold Coast based and internationally distributed Vegan Lifestyle emphasizes the power of their publication’s reach as a digital magazine. Publisher and founder San Davis notes that being electronically published “…has allowed us to be downloaded in 100 countries. The majority of downloads still remains in the US, followed by UK, Canada, Australia, Germany and France. They are the biggest markets for our product.”
“A lot of our readers are activists, business people, etc. They are busy and don’t have the time to spend on the internet so we give them everything they want. They catch up with everything once a month. A lot of our current contributors originally came to us as subscribers to the mag.” -San Davis, Vegan Lifestyle
While the digital magazines about veganism have the value of reaching an international audience immediately, hardcopy publications in various regions can be seen as some indication of the vigor of the local vegan movement itself. Germany and the USA currently have the greatest number (and growing) of print magazines about veganism. Advocacy in the vegan movement takes all forms and the work that those at the helm of these publications perform is certainly one valuable form.
At the time of writing, Hong Kong based GoVeg magazine is the sole publication about veganism in Asia. Editor Wayne Furlong notes the importance in delivering the messages in its pages. “It is critical that the positive message of veganism gets out to Chinese people and, while our platform is small at the moment, we are quite tenacious and hope to grow in our reach. Secondly, our focus on ‘ordinary’ people and good news stories is quite unique in the modern media landscape with its emphasis on negative stories and celebrity. We feel that veganism has given us joy in our lives and want others to experience that.”
“We will cover any good news story about plant based lifestyles. There are thousands doing pioneering work all over the world and we try to give some of these people a voice. We emphasise stories of people who are doing good things locally as well as overseas… we cover stories of how going vegan can be personally liberating and powerful in helping to create a greener, kinder, healthier world.” -Wayne Furlong, GoVeg
“…we are optimistic that the interest for veganism will rise constantly. We are more and more increasing our digital presence and see increasing demand for informational exchange in that field. Veganism does not only approach a niche of vegan people but also people who want to give vegan options a chance.” -Timur Coskun, Welt Vegan Magazin
In compiling the Q & A’s for editors for this piece, most of my questions focused on aspects of the publication’s establishment, history and mission, not the craft of magazine making itself, a whole other fascinating area to explore, particularly as many of these publications have been founded by, not people with training in magazine design and publication but ethical vegans with a passion. Brenda Carey, Founder and Editor in Chief of Vegan Health and Fitness magazine reflects that “I had no background working on a magazine, so I had to teach myself how to use the software and do the graphic art . I’ve come a long way in these past 4 years! I think the moral of this story is to ‘go for it’ when you have a dream to do something that will make the world a better place, even if you have a learning curve ahead of you. If you work hard and persist, your commitment and determination will carry you through!”
I had a problem while researching for this piece. A fantastic problem. I kept discovering more vegan print and digital magazines. First issues of entirely new publications were being announced as I searched and dug deeper. As is the nature of the industry, inevitably some publications will cease publishing and other publications will be born. I look forward to follow on the journey of all of these magazines, not only with interest in the themes covered but also with support and hopes in seeing the vigor of this niche of the magazine industry continue to grow alongside the expansion of the vegan movement.
– Annika Lundkvist, February 2016
*All magazines covers provided by respective publications
Thank You to all the individuals who participated & took the time to answer questions for this piece!
Q & A’s with Editors
Click on title to go to Q & A’s
Magazines about veganism
Click on title to go direct to magazine’s website
Raise Vegan | Australian Vegans Journal | Barefoot Vegan | BLAUFUX | Chickpea Vegan Quarterly | Das Vegan Magazin | Driftwood | Fresh Vegan | GoVeg |LA Fashionista Compassionista | Laika | Magazyn VEGE | Matmagasinet Vego | Noveaux | Sprouted | The Lush Scoop | Selva Beat | The Vegan | Thrive | T.O.F.U. Magazine | Vegan Food & Living | VEGAN für mich | Vegan Good Life | Vegan Health & Fitness | Vegan Italy | Vegan Life | Vegan Lifestyle | VegNews | Versus | Vlowers | Welt Vegan Magazin