My wife and I recently retired and moved. I do need good advice, please. I am disappointed that there are no local vegetarian groups in our new location.
How do I socialize with other Vegetarians? Can I love the Planet and not be a Vegan? What is your opinion? - L. H.
Meeting other vegetarians: Start your own group! You'll draw like minded people to you as long as you don't hide in your house. Attract attention to your vegetarian self however you can. Make a fool of yourself if necessary, but I don't think it will be.
1. Advertise in your local paper's personal column, on Craig's List, on vegetarian friendship sites.
2. Start a vegetarian cooking or pot luck club (again, advertise)
3. Post notices at the nearest natural food store
4. Give vegetarian cooking classes at your local community center, senior center, junior college, etc.
5. Seek publicity. Call in to radio talk shows, get yourself interviewed by the local paper, write letters to the editor
6. Join groups or activities where vegetarians might hang out - environmental groups, yoga, meditation, animal rights, liberal political activities, organic gardening groups, farmers markets, csa's - be friendly and extroverted
7. Ask people you meet wherever you go - at the grocery store, library, community center, church, college, etc - do you happen to know any vegetarians?
8. As soon as you've met a few vegetarians, throw a party, and ask your new acquaintances to bring their vegetarian and veg friendly friends.
9. Make friends with sympathetic non-vegetarians you happen to meet and like.
10. Enjoy all your new veggie friends.
Yes, I think you can love the planet and not be a vegan. It's interesting that you bring this up. I've found that many environmentalists, who do love the planet, aren't vegetarian, and are actually pretty sensitive, as in, defensive about it. And that many animal lovers hate people who aren't vegan. And that many people who eat meat are tolerant and loving. So, it's very hard to make and apply rules about all this.
Judith Kingsbury, Savvy Vegetarian