Letting the Food (and Drinks) Do the Talking for Vegan Politics

While in college, I was a big fan of more traditional outreach such as movie screenings and leafleting with pamphlets, but since leaving the college campus environment, I’ve been drawn to sharing veganism through other means. For the twenty-something set I hang with these days, my vegan friends and I have found different ways to introduce veganism.

Having years of experience with the mess it can create, I’m never one to push chatting about political ethics with friends or family. I find people who are genuinely interested in hearing where I come from with my veganism ask me about it, and this puts me in a position where neither one of us are likely to be as defensive. Three of the most effective ways I’ve found are outlined below.

vegan cupcakes
Nice to have friends who have amazing vegan cupcakes at their housewarming parties!
  • Free cupcakes! Showing up to a meeting with a bunch of free cupcakes (cookies also work) will earn high fives all around. Additionally you’ve earned some good karma and enjoyed the experience of sharing delicious snacks with people who you are working with which possibly means they are  broke and/or working for free. Mentioning they are vegan will likely gain interest from at least one in the crowd at which point the door is opened to share more awesome vegan recipes.


  • Vegan Drinks Vegan Drinks is along the same lines as the event Green Drinks which was an event created for those in the environmental field to mingle with new contacts and hang out with friends in a casual setting that has popped up in many cities. As described on the Vegan Drinks website: “Vegan Drinks is a monthly social networking event for people interested in promoting veganism and advocating for animal rights. Vegan Drinks’ mission is to bring together a diverse group of people–from cupcake aficionados to animal lawyers to veg*ns of all stripes in between–to build new coalitions and promote the sharing of resources.” Someone who has been curious about animal rights issues may find an event such as Vegan Drinks a less intimidating way to get their feet wet then attending an organizational meeting. Also, this type of social event can be a great introduction to organizations and activists.
A giant Salad
Me with a giant salad we made at a community dinner. (Excuse the camera phone pic.)
  • Community Dinner Party Organizing a weekly time to cook with friends is a fab way to save money and also get together with busy friends. Offering to host and buy the ingredients and then everyone just shows up and pitches in a few bucks can be an interesting way to share vegan cooking and introduce people to dishes they might not try otherwise. Often trying new recipes is intimidating alone, but hanging out in a kitchen with friends and cooking together is not. Make enough for leftovers and the sharing of vegan goodness continues!


Through the beauty of the World Wide Web it’s ridiculously easy to organize and promote social events like those suggested above. And I’m about to point out something obvious here, but incredibly true and worth remembering: sharing through genuine personal connection is often the most productive way to communicate ethics.  All of the above suggestions relate to this point I’ve learned through personal experience to be true.

By Jamie J. Hagen

Jamie J. Hagen lives in Brooklyn and is a Contributing Editor for Autostraddle and writer for The Line Campaign. Follow her on twitter @jamiejhagen and visit her personal website for more of her work.

6 replies on “Letting the Food (and Drinks) Do the Talking for Vegan Politics”

Vegans!? Sheik Dabooty will have 72 veganz waiting in the paradise that is the after-life. I shall line themz all up in a row, bowed before me and shall feed them the almighty Sheik Sausage! They will be veganz no more but womenz of my paradise harem! — This is the wordz of Sheik Dabooty!

I love the idea about vegan cupcakes and cookies! I actually went to a birthday party once and had The Most Delicious Chocolate Cake ever. Only later did I find out it was vegan and I had a whole new appreciation for vegan cooking.

PS you’re part of Feminism is for Lovers? A woman I went to college with is part of that too…

I am! My friend Jen had the idea to make the stickers a few summers ago and then the project got publicized on Feministing so we sent out a bunch of stickers to people who wrote in wanting their own.

A lot of them ended up on various colleges around the country – did you see one of the stickers?

PS: I have more if you want some!

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