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
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
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.