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as well as general inquiries about vegan ethics, philosophy,
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Where can vegans meet other vegans?
Vegans can be found in almost all areas
of North America and, surprisingly, in many parts of
the world, even remote or oppressive places where it
might seem impossible to be vegan. But, because the
only attribute that differentiates vegans from anyone
else is the application of their ethic, vegans are often
anonymous, even to each other.
As with any cultural minority, it is
easier to sustain one's beliefs and lifestyle when supported
by others who share the same convictions. National vegan,
vegetarian, and animal rights organizations do an excellent
job of creating a sense of unity and camaraderie despite
their affiliates being scattered in many directions.
Some groups produce periodicals, such as newsletters
or magazines, and include a free subscription with each
membership. This can provide not only enjoyable reading
matter and insightful articles but access to information
about local and national conferences, events, and other
gatherings where vegans come together. Some publications
contain a listing of regional contacts -- people who
have volunteered to be resource points for local or
visiting vegans. Two magazines which incorporate such
listings are "The
Vegetarian Voice," published quarterly by the North
American Vegetarian Society, P.O. Box 72, Dolgeville,
New York 13329, 518-568-7970, and "Ahimsa," published
quarterly by the America Vegan Society, P.O. Box 369, Malaga, New Jersey 08328-0908,
Both organizations also host annual conferences that
are fun, educational, and inspiring, and feature national
and international experts on vegan living.
In large and mid-size cities there are
usually one or two -- and sometimes several -- natural
food stores and food co-operatives. Occasionally, these
establishments sponsor workshops, lectures, or social
events that can range from informative to all-out festive.
Generally, a large proportion of vegetarians and vegans
comprise the audience. Many of these stores also have
bulletin boards and newsletters that provide listings
of local activist groups, vegan/vegetarian get-togethers
and potlucks, meetings of the local chapters of national
vegetarian and animal rights organizations, vegetarian
societies, and so forth. These notices can alert you
to what is happening in your area and put you in touch
with like-minded people.
For those who live in small towns and
rural areas, it is much harder to find other vegans.
Frequently, hamlets and villages are situated in or
near "food animal" farms and hunting areas where the
prospect of veganism is typically met with anger and
hostility. In this case, it may be necessary to occasionally
travel to the nearest large town or city that has a
natural food store in order to find out what groups
and activities, if any, are available there for vegans.
Of course, people can always try to start their own
group or establish a local chapter of a national organization,
but in outlying areas it is usually significantly more
of a challenge.
The Internet can be a terrific way to
connect with other vegans, and you could potentially
meet others who live fairly close to you. Even if you
don't develop real-time friendships through this medium,
cyber-pals can commiserate with your situation and offer
a great deal of support and understanding. Vegan discussion
boards and mailing lists are helpful for maintaining
awareness of other perspectives. They can also involve
vegans in stimulating on-line dialogues. Web sites provide
access to endless information and can help notify vegans
about upcoming events and activities.
Part of seeking out other vegans means
taking the initiative. Use every opportunity you have
to investigate who and what is available to you, and
be a willing and active participant. If you make the
effort to reach out to other vegans, you'll find many
wonderful people just waiting to reach back.
Copyright © 1998-2013 by Jo Stepaniak
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