Activist Spotlight: Lowcountry Vegan Community Outreach

Lowcountry Vegan Community Outreach held a Food Sampling stall at their local Earth Day festival in April, reaching 50 environmentally-concerned people with lots of wonderful vegan food and educational literature! Activists served Daiya and Field Roast products as well as choc chip cookies, and they distributed Compassion Over Killing’s ‘Eating Sustainably’ and Vegan Outreach’s ‘Compassionate Choices’ literature.

Lowcountry Vegan Community Outreach -  Earth Day Festival 2016

Lowcountry Vegan Community Outreach
Earth Day Festival 2016

VegFund spoke with group founder, Lauren to find out more…

VegFund: What inspired you to get involved in vegan outreach?

Lowcountry Vegan Community Outreach: Going vegan itself inspired me to be involved in spreading the message. Once educated on the issues, I felt compelled to share the information, to advance the movement. I credit the Sonoma County vegan community for initially engaging that desire. From there, I felt empowered to strike out on my own and keep it up.

VF: What other activism and/or vegan events have you been involved in?

LVCO: I have enjoyed tabling and leafleting on a semi-regular basis. When I last moved to an area with no vegan groups, I decided to start one, Lowcountry Vegan Community Outreach.

VF: What were some of the common responses and/or discussions you had during this event?

LVCO: On the occasion of Earth Day, I often opened up discussions referencing the environmental impacts of food choices. Since all attendees had just participated in a river and neighborhood clean-up, I figured (correctly) that they were more open to vegan food than the overall local population. Many women presented a casual interest, but it was men especially who exclaimed with pleasant surprise upon tasting the samples.

VF: What was the highlight of this event for you?

LVCO: The highlight was being swarmed by a group of middle-schoolers, all of whom loved the samples and readily took the informational brochures and one of whom explained that when she’s done “growing up” and allowed (by her parents or of an independent age), she plans on becoming vegan. She spoke eloquently about dairy milk being for the calves, so I have faith in her, but she was running off when I wanted to explain away any nutritional concerns; so my husband yelled out, “keep influencing your friends!”

VF: What barriers did you face during the hosting of this event?

LVCO: The only limiting factor was the attendance, but it was expected for a town of its population, but capitalizing on a community event that attracted eco-conscious people was a great opportunity nonetheless.

VF: Do you have any quotes/paraphrases from attendees at your event or anecdotes that may be of interest to other activists?

LVCO: My advice is to work with your situation. As I currently live in a relatively sparse and sprawling area, I still can make a difference in the local communities. One can plant seeds, reach out, and create change anywhere.

There are many ways to inspire people with your outreach efforts, and VegFund would love to help you! Please read our Grant Programs Overview for information on the types of grants available and how to apply.

 

Vegan Earth Day Outreach

By Kimberly Dreher, VegFund Program Director

On April 22nd, over a billion people from around the world will join together in celebration of Earth Day. Many will be open to learning what they can do to reduce their eco-footprint, and since going vegan is one of the most important steps one can take for the planet, this makes Earth Day a perfect outreach opportunity. To help you gear up for your Earth Day outreach, we’ve compiled some helpful tips and resources. If you have additional ideas, please leave a comment. We love hearing from you!

Education: You don’t need to be an environmental expert to host or table at an Earth Day event. However, it doesn’t hurt to spend a little time brushing up on how veganism is good for the planet. Lots of resources can be found online, but to save you some legwork, check out our recent AR Trends article. It provides a thorough summary of research on the environmental benefits of veganism.

Leaflets: Whether you’re tabling at an event or hosting a screening, chances are you won’t get the opportunity to have in-depth conversations with everyone. That’s one of the reasons why it’s so important to have literature. In addition to brochures that discuss the positive impact veganism makes for the animals, for an Earth Day event, you’ll also want to have literature that covers the environmental benefits. Here are a few options to consider:

  • Compassion Over Killings’ Eating Sustainably: A trifold brochure that explains how animal agriculture is the leading cause of global warming, resource depletion, and pollution, and how we can fight for the environment by going vegan. It’s available for order in bulk quantities, including 25 for $4, 150 for $15, 500 for $40, and 1,000 for $65.
  • Action for Animals’ Go Green, Go Vegan: A flyer with a wealth of information on the negative environmental effects of raising animals for food. Global warming, air pollution, water pollution, deforestation, and species extinction are just a handful of the many topics that are covered. Because the handout covers so much information, there is a lot of text and no images, which makes it less eye-catching than other options. It’s available for order in bulk, costing just $2.50 for 50 flyers.
  • Nonviolence United’s A Life Connected: Small booklet that encourages people to make choices that align with their values. This positive and colorful booklet points out that veganism is good for the animals, planet, and people, but unlike the other options, it doesn’t get into specific facts on veganism and the environment. It’s available for order in bulk, including 100 brochures for $15, 200 for $29, 500 for $69, and 1,000 for $139.
  • Vegetarian Resource Group’s Save Our WaterThis colorful handout gives a compelling presentation for the environmental benefits of veganism. It covers the impact that animal agriculture has on the water, air, and land, and also includes various tables that clearly show the inefficiency of meat production. This handout isn’t available for bulk order, so it must be downloaded and printed.

Finding or Promoting an Event: Earth Day is celebrated in 192 countries! With thousands of communities participating each year, it’s likely that there’s an Earth Day event happening in your area. Tabling at a community event and giving out free vegan food samples along with educational literature is a great way to engage the public. To find an Earth Day celebration near you, browse the event calendar in your local paper or try an online search.

If there isn’t an event in your area, you might consider organizing your own. There are a range of possibilities, including feed-ins on college campuses, film screenings, and festivals. For those who are organizing events, promotion is essential. For great tips on advertising your event, read through VegFund’s Advertising 101 post.

Films: In recent years, there’s been an explosion in the number of documentaries that explore how our food choices affect the environment. If you’re tabling at an Earth Day event, playing a short documentary on a loop can be a great addition to your booth. Or, you might consider organizing a screening for a longer documentary. Here are a few titles that are worth checking out:

  • A Life Connected: An uplifting 12-minute video that explains the many benefits of making vegan choices.
  • Making the Connection: This 30-minute film is divided into eight chapters and explores how becoming vegan is good for our health, the environment, and the animals. It features interviews with dietitians, elite athletes, environmental groups, and more. Chapter 6 is about 4 minutes long and is specifically focused on the environment.
  • Meat the Truth: This is a 72-minute documentary about global warming that focuses on what many other environmental films, like an Inconvenient Truth, leave out: the impact of raising animals for food. This film is available in 10 languages.
For more video ideas, visit the Environment & Sustainability section of VegVids.com.

Eco-Friendly Outreach: Finally, whether or not it’s Earth Day, we should always strive to make our outreach as environmentally-friendly as possible. To see how well you’re doing, and for some great tips, read through Make Every Day Earth Day.

If you’re in need of support for your event, apply for a grant today! Now, let’s get out there and start making a difference!