This year saw a record number of nominations across all categories including the main category of overall winner of Vegan of the Year 2014. It is a brilliant indication that veganism is becoming more widespread and particularly, as seen in the huge increase in nominations for the Outstanding Vegan Business category, there are clear signs that veganism is fast hitting the mainstream as more and more people demand a greater range of vegan products and services. This year also saw a large number of nominations for Outstanding Vegan Creative – an indication that many more talented people are using their creative skills to advocate for veganism. For these two categories, it was particularly difficult to differentiate between nominees so you will notice that there are multiple winners in each of these categories. Other categories have quite a few finalists, due to the large volume of worthy nominees received.
In order to highlight the achievements of the many great vegans around the planet and the diversity of the vegan movement, each year a different man and woman are chosen to be Vegan of the Year. If your favourite vegans were not chosen as winners this year, rest assured the awards will continue for years and all great vegans will be honoured in time. And in a similar vein, when people are awarded Vegan of the Year in one particular year, it doesn’t mean that they are forgotten in subsequent years; it is just a way of recognizing and celebrating different people every year.
This year, our Vegan of the Year award winners are philanthropists – two extraordinary, noble souls who share their intelligence, wisdom and financial resources with unconditional generosity, willingness and compassion. But they are both so much more than generous people; they are the change-makers, the leaders at the very pinnacle of the vegan movement, blazing a path of greater awareness through their powerful advocacy and far-reaching humanitarian initiatives around the globe.
Of course, people of this enduring stature should be Vegan of the Year every year, and in reality they are. They have dedicated their lives to spreading the vegan message. These are the leaders who inspire and galvanize other leaders, who in turn inspire and motivate yet others still. Amongst other great leaders in the vegan movement, they will forever be known, and their names will forever be remembered, for ushering in the new era of compassionate, sustainable living that we are now clearly beginning to see emerge.
One of the main aims of the awards is to inspire and encourage those who read the stories of the winners, to go forth and create their own way to spread the vegan message. If you feel affinity with one or more of this year’s winners, I hope you will check out their websites to discover more about these worthy individuals, organisations and businesses. Allow their achievements, creativity, talents and drive to inspire you to find your own vegan greatness. And in turn, I hope you will be nominated and awarded Vegan of the Year in the years to come!
So here we go, without further delay:
Introducing the winners of the Vegan of the Year Award, 2014:
The Supreme Master Ching Hai and Philip Wollen OAM
The Supreme Master Ching Hai is an artist, spiritual teacher, philanthropist, author, environmentalist, film director and humanitarian. She advocates the organic vegan diet as the fastest, most effective way to solve the world’s climate, water, deforestation and other crises. Supreme Master Ching Hai created Supreme Master Television, an online and satellite television station that broadcasted constructive news, including interviews with prominent vegans from all corners of the globe, and many other programs that showcase the vegan lifestyle. She is also the founder of the Loving Hut chain of vegan restaurants. The Supreme Master Ching Hai is also well known for her charitable work for people and animals in need worldwide, and for her global disaster relief efforts, her teams often being the first to the front-line with practical and financial help in times of emergency and natural disasters.
For more information about The Supreme Master Ching Hai and her work, see: http://www.godsdirectcontact.org/eng/article/chinghai.html.
Our second winner of the Vegan of the Year Award 2014 is Philip Wollen OAM.
Philip Wollen is a venture capitalist for good causes. His powerful speeches have touched the hearts and minds of countless people worldwide and as a result he has profoundly affected the way people regard animals. He has lent the considerable might of his personal and business reputation to the animal rights cause. His brilliant and emotive speeches, given generously and freely around the globe, have enormous impact often inspiring immediate and dramatic positive change. Recently, in India, he presented talks to the CEOs of companies with hundreds of thousands of employees (with one company having over one million employees), after which many of the CEOs were so touched that they vowed to serve vegetarian meals to all of their employees. In Australia, he supports a multitude of NGOs by providing office space and facilities at Kindness House in Melbourne. Worldwide, he finances and supports a range of humanitarian projects. Together with his wife Trix, they are a formidable force for good in the world, hastening the arrival of a vegan world for all.
For more information about Philip Wollen and his work, see: http://www.kindnesstrust.com
Young Vegan of the Year (under 21 years old)
Allisyn Ashley Arm
A vegan since the age of twelve, Allisyn is the star of Disney productions ‘Sonny with a Chance’ and ‘So Random!’. Allisyn takes every opportunity to spread awareness about the vegan lifestyle. Read more about her here:
Deirdre is a 7-year-old organic vegan who diligently and creatively, by whichever means she can, raises awareness of the plight of animals that suffer. For example, she forgoes Christmas and birthday gifts so she can donate the money instead to animal charities. She is always finding opportunities to raise money for animals. Deirdre is the daughter of the founder of www.vorganix.com, an online vegan organic bakery.
Outstanding Vegan Website
Outstanding Animal Rescue/Animal Rights Organisation
Winner: Paramatma by Juliana Castaneda (Columbia) http://paramatmafarm.com
Finalists: SAFE (NZ) www.safe.org.nz
Farm Animal Rescue (Australia) http://www.farmanimalrescue.org.au
A Poultry Place (Australia) https://www.facebook.com/apoultryplace
To read an interview with Juliana Castaneda, conducted by our friends at The Thinking Vegan, see:
Outstanding Vegan Business
Winners: Beyond Meat http://beyondmeat.com (USA)
Veganz http://veganz.de (Germany)
Hippocrates Health Institute http://hippocratesinst.org (USA)
Finalists: The Dutch Weed Burger www.DutchWeedBurger.com (Netherlands)
Bed and Broccoli http://www.bedandbroccoli.com.au (Australia)
Loolys www.loolys.net (Morocco)
White Cub Dairy-Free Ice-Cream www.whitecub.in (India)
Vegan Wares www.veganwares.com (Australia)
Outstanding Vegan Restaurant
Winners: Loving Hut Hoa Dang (Saigon, Vietnam)
Suzy Spoon’s Vegetarian Butcher (Sydney, Australia)
Smith & Daughters (Melbourne, Australia)
Vegan Buffet (Hamilton, New Zealand)
Boon Burger (Manitoba, Canada)
Modern Love (Omaha, NE, USA)
Loving Hut (Menton, France)
Outstanding Vegan Athlete
Winners: Fiona Oakes www.fionaoakesfoundation.co.uk
Brendan Brazier http://www.brendanbrazier.com
Finalists: Richard Campbell http://www.livityfitness.com/
Stephanie Bellia http://movenimprove.com.au
Outstanding Vegan Innovator
Winners: Tal Gilboa for innovative animal rights activism on national TV in Israel (winning Big Brother).
Sybil Severin for writing the world’s first vegan fairytale.
James Aspey for his one year vow of silence and journey around Australia to raise awareness about the vegan lifestyle.
Freelee the Banana Girl for Rawtill4.
Animal Politics Foundation for supporting animal political parties worldwide.
Outstanding Vegan Volunteer
Winners: Ron Prasad
Susan Michelle Smith
Outstanding Vegan Creative
Winners: Jo Fredericks – artist
Chris Delforce – film maker
Richard Watts – illustrator
Jo-Anne McArthur – photographer
Joanne Rose – actor/producer/director
Leigh Drew – cook book author
Carol Slater – photographer
Zara Pamboukhtchian – graphic designer
Outstanding Vegan Media Outlet
Winners: Vegan Life magazine (UK) http://veganlifemag.co.uk
Laika magazine (USA) http://www.laikamagazine.com
Finalists: The Lush Scoop (Australia) http://www.thelushscoop.com
Wildfire magazine (Australia) http://wildfirebykohiilove.wordpress.com
Outstanding Vegan Food Blogger
Winners: Mel Baker for http://thekindcook.com
Amy Krell for http://thecomfortingvegan.blogspot.com/
Nicole English for http://rawkiwi.com
Angela Liddon for http://ohsheglows.com
Outstanding Vegan Social Media Outreach
Winners: Freelee the Banana Girl https://www.facebook.com/TheBananaGirl
Teen VGN https://www.facebook.com/TeenVgn
The Sydney Vegan Club https://www.facebook.com/groups/SydneyVegans/
I’m a Little Vegan https://www.facebook.com/imalittlevegan
Outstanding Vegan Professional
Winners : Robyn Chuter – naturopath/counsellor
Clare Mann – psychologist
Dr Michael Greger – medical doctor
Dr Neal Barnard – medical doctor
Dr Gabriel Cousens – medical doctor, homeopath, herbalist
Dr Sean Kirsten – dietician, nutritionist
A big vegan thanks to everyone who sent in nominations and spread the word about the Awards. Winners and finalists will receive their certificates and web badges via email soon. Congratulations to all the winners and see you again here next year!
A special thanks to Julie Dixon for her work on the Vegan of the Year Awards, including editing this post, and for her overall guidance, support and advice.The Vegan of the Year Awards 2014 are proudly sponsored by Planet Vegan, an ethical, organic vegan clothing and accessories range launching soon!
And, lastly, Happy World Vegan Day! A big thanks to everyone who is working towards a vegan world where all beings live in peace and freedom. Together we will do it!