Why Your Next Event Should Be Vegan

Vegan meals are more inclusive, not less.

Pax Ahimsa Gethen

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Vegan wraps stacked on a white serving dish. Photo by Pax Ahimsa Gethen, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

As a progressive person, I’ve seen a lot of posts on social media about the need for structural changes to society rather than changes to personal habits. For example, when folks recommend going vegan to help curb the destruction of the environment, we are often met with accusations of privilege and diet-shaming. We’re told that the fault and responsibility lie with corporations or governments, not with an individual’s choice of what to eat or which car to drive or what kind of straw to use.

While there’s a lot to unpack here, I feel that one way we can make a difference without asking others to commit to a permanent change of lifestyle is to serve only vegan food at events. All events, not just those concerning veganism or animal rights. Whether it’s an evening get-together or a multi-day conference, the huge variety of dishes that can be made exclusively from plants can accommodate all participants.

Note that while many ethical vegans (including myself) avoid animal-derived clothing and other items, for the purposes of this article I am defining vegan solely in dietary terms. Thus, by vegan I mean a person who only eats food derived exclusively from plants. I prefer to use the term vegan rather than “plant-based” because the latter is ambiguous; some foods labeled or described in this way actually contain animal products.

I also use the term flesh rather than “meat” as a personal preference, as a reminder that this food was once a part of someone’s body.

Regardless of diet, no one has to eat animal products at every meal, even if they might prefer to do so. Event planning can and should accommodate many dietary needs, but cannot possibly accommodate every preference. With that in mind, all-vegan event catering is actually more inclusive, not less.

Let’s say you have a buffet with three main dishes to choose from. The first dish contains chicken flesh, the second contains cow’s milk, and the third is made solely from plants. This would seem to be inclusive of everyone: flesh eaters, vegetarians, and vegans. Right?

But here’s what happens in reality:

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Pax Ahimsa Gethen

Queer agender trans male. Black vegan atheist, pacifist. Pronouns: they/them/their. funcrunch.org, patreon.com/funcrunch