It all started with a hashtag.
They’re designed to bring like-minded thumbs together, but three London-based Instagrammers have taken one particular hashtag to the next level, with their real-life, plant based picnics.
#plantbased is where it all started. It’s also where Natasha Lipman, Maxine Ali and Pixie Turner, tuned in to a growing interest in the idea of plant based food as medicine.
The three girls, with a shared passion for healthy living, joined forces to organise a very small gathering in a central London park. Conditions of entry? Thoughtfully prepare a plant based food offering to bring and share.
With a collective Instagram following of almost 70,000 and a few mouth watering snaps – it wasn’t long before word spread.
“The response to the picnics has been beyond any of our expectations,” says Maxine.
“When we first started out, the event was exactly what it claimed to be – a picnic. We had a small blanket out in a park with a few plant-based dishes and a handful of people. But, in just three months, it’s grown into something incredible. We’ve had people come from across the country, even from across oceans to be a part of the gatherings, and so much time and creativity goes into every dish that’s brought.”
Not everyone who attends adheres to a strict plant based diet. But Pixie, who plans to study Medicine and blogs about eating a vegan diet on a student budget, says more Londoners are becoming aware of what they are putting in their bodies.
“[Londoners] are beginning to question what they hear and read a lot more than they used to,” says Pixie.
“People publicly stating online that their diet is successfully helping them heal themselves, is a powerful tool, and I think has definitely influenced a lot of people to make healthy changes to their diet.”
This is definitely the case for Natasha, who has spoken on BBC radio about the success of her plant based diet in helping to cure a chronic illness.
“Most people have a different reason for turning to a plant-based diet. I found it through ill health, and through events like the picnic and through my Instagram, I have met so many others,” says Natasha.
“It’s interesting, I think that a lot of people are feeling tired, stressed, and just not well, and are looking for a way beyond medicine. Especially in a city like London,” she says.
“Food is the one thing we all have some form of control over – so changing a diet can be the first step towards changing a life. That’s certainly what happened for me!”
With a Facebook group of almost 250 Plant Based Picnicers – the trio have announced the city’s first Superfood Breakfast Club in partnership with Organic Burst and Wild Food Café. It’s no surprise that tickets sold out in less than two hours.
You can join the new wave of healthy foodies at www.facebook.com/groups/plantbasedpicnic