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Vegetarian groups are friendly and casual
Don't be shy - join one today

The website of the International Vegetarian Union (IVU) lists hundreds of vegetarian groups all over the world. Just select your region and click on "Vegetarian & Vegan organizations & websites".

Why join a vegetarian group?

It will expand your horizons and change your life. You will understand that you are not alone. You are part of a worldwide community that cares for health, the animals, and the environment. The vegetarian philosophy has ancient roots. It has been embraced by educated and thoughtful people for centuries.

When we lived in Hawaii, we used to have potlucks with John and Mary McDougall and their patients. The potlucks were a blast. Everyone made a special low fat vegan dish and we had so much fun sharing food and getting to know one another. When Dr. McDougall moved to California, we felt like our social life had evaporated.

Then we saw an ad for a vegetarian conference to be held in Arcata, California. We attended the conference and met lots of nice people. One of the panel discussions we attended was entitled "How to Form a Local Group". By the time we got home we had decided to do it.

We founded the Vegetarian Society of Hawaii (VSH) in 1990, and the group will always have a special place in our heart. VSH now has over 2,000 members. They have an informative newsletter and excellent monthly meetings. But our favorite thing about VSH is that we can watch every speaker's lecture in full on their website.

Start your own group

If you can't find a local group in your area, consider starting one. A group can have any format you choose. Here are a few ideas, ranging from simple to complex:
  • Just have a little potluck club. No dues, no newsletter, and no responsibilities.

  • Put up a note on the bulletin board of your local natural food store. Say you want to start a casual vegetarian group. Communicate by email. Buy a few vegtarian DVDs and show them in someone's home.

  • Organize a vegetarian book club and get together to discuss the books you read. Bring a few snacks.

  • Go all the way and start a non-profit group. Get 501(c)(3) tax exempt status. Charge dues, have a monthly meeting, distribute a newsletter. If you want to start this type of group, be sure you have at least four committed members who are willing to share the work. As the organization starts growing, you will need help.

  • Once you have a solid group and some reliable volunteers, consider sponsoring a vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner or other holiday feast. You can have a potluck, a catered dinner, or ask a local vegetarian restaurant to host the dinner for you.

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