This past weekend I went to my first vegan potluck dinner! The event was hosted by Northwest Veg, a vegan group I recently joined. The food was absolutely amazing and the speaker Ann Gentry from Real Food Daily, was fun to listen to. But the best part of the evening, well maybe next to the vegan baklava, was just being in a room with 60 other people who understand why I’m vegan. I could talk about the China Study or about the rights of animals and no one’s eyes glazed over and no one said “but I could never give up cheese” or asked me what I eat. I equate it a little to what a stay at home mom might feel sometimes when talking to a group of adults after a full week of only talking to young children. I was with people who understood me and who spoke the same language. That is what builds and expands a community.
And we need to build and expand our vegan community. When I first became vegan all I had were a few people I talked with online through a web forum. I felt very isolated. So early into this journey I started working on how to meet other vegans. I know from experience with past changes I have made in my life that after a very long, hard day it is easier to cut corners and maybe not worry about the “little things” like possibly some cheese on my salad. However, when I’m surrounded by people who share in what I believe and who are working towards the same objective, I am far less likely to ignore what I know to be true and important. It is why Weight Watches and Alcoholics Anonymous are often successful. Belonging to a community provides more strength than following the path alone.
Below is a list of suggestions and things I have done to meet other vegans.
- Try a local vegan meet-up or start a new meet-up. The site Vegan Meetup Groups has a list of several groups from all over the world.
- Volunteering at a local animal sanctuary is a great way to help the sanctuary, meet others who are concerned about animals, and it is actually fun if you don’t mind getting a little dirty. The National Shelter List web page contains information on several farm animal shelters and I’m guessing any one of them would welcome a little help around the barn.
- The Northwest Veg group that I mention above was found when I was just clicking through various vegan blogs. Gotta love the internet!
- I was surprised to find that our local community college has a vegan cooking class. Cooking classes are another great way to meet people who are either already vegan or interested. In the Portland/Seattle area we have David’s Vegan Kitchen.
- Getting involved with some of the grassroots organizations that are working to change legislation regarding factory farming is not only great for helping to further very important change, these organizations are also filled with amazing, passionate people. Several important efforts are underway. In Oregon the Oregonians for Humane Farms are working to have the size of chicken cages increased to relieve some of the suffering these beings endure. A fight that to me is obvious is the battle in several states to prevent laws that would make hidden camera investigations of factory farms illegal. I’m shocked these laws have passed in any state, and it scares me knowing that they have.
- One of the best ways to meet other like-minded people is to let people know you are a proud vegan! You may be surprised at what you find or who you find.