The second annual Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale — April 24 – May 2, 2010. Participants wanted.
What is it?
The Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale (WVBS) was started in 2009 as a way to combine fundraising and vegan outreach. 100 groups participated in the first year, raising over 25,000 dollars for a variety of worthy causes and introducing nearly that many people to the deliciousness and diversity of vegan baked goods. VegNews magazine called it the “Veg Event of the Year.”
The WVBS concept is simple: Groups around the globe hold vegan bake sales during a nine-day period (two weekends and the week in between). Participants can do whatever they want with the proceeds. Everything sold or given away must be vegan.
Sweet Vegan Outreach Potential
Vegan bake sales are an effective yet relatively stress-free form of vegan activism:
- Bake sales are also typically tabling events. Alongside cupcakes and muffins are brochures and veg starter guides.
- You can combine bake sales with other forms of outreach. In Oakton, Virginia, the bake sale table was at one entrance to a store and volunteers handed out vegan starter guides and free samples at the other entrance. In Guelph, Ontario, Stormy, a very social pig, stopped by the vegan bake sale for tummy rubs and was an eloquent spokespig for Ruby Ranch Pig Sanctuary, the beneficiary of the bake sale’s proceeds. There’s practically no limit to vegan bake sale tie-ins.
- The “vegan-ness” of vegan desserts is above all their lack of dairy and eggs, which inevitably leads customers and onlookers to inquire about those products.
- Bake sales are usually fun and festive and thus conducive to productive discussions about otherwise tense topics. The defensiveness-to-effectiveness ratio at vegan bake sales is refreshingly low.
- When someone bites into their first-ever vegan cupcake or cheesecake, you can practically see the barriers melting away. Two reasons why people don’t eat more vegan food are unfamiliarity and fear that it won’t taste good. It’s amazing how one chocolate chip cookie can cause a skeptic to re-think both of those points.
- Vegan bake sales attract vegan “inactivists” who are not interested in other types of events, such as leafleting and protests.
- Vegan bake sales are a nice change of pace for seasoned activists. Compared to, say, a day of anti-circus demonstrations, a vegan bake sale is a piece of cake (sorry). At the end of a vegan bake sale, you’re tired but ecstatic. There’s very little energy-sapping stress.
- Being invited to participate in a vegan bake sale is a good excuse for non-vegans to try vegan baking. Ask your non-vegan baking friends if they’d like to contribute to your vegan bake sale. You may be surprised at how many respond affirmatively. You can lend them copies of Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and other relevant cookbooks to give them ideas. Some non-vegans regularly bake vegan desserts once they see how good their bake sale entry turns out.
Perhaps the bottom line is: Vegan bake sales combine a well-liked tradition with tasty vegan food; they introduce veganism to the public in an upbeat, engaging manner.
If one vegan bake sale is great, 100 or more are better
The WVBS magnifies the positive effects of vegan bake sales by having a profusion of them at locations all over the world in the same short period, and heavily promoting them.
Join in the meaningful fun
The success of the WVBS depends very much on the number of bake sales. The more bake sales, the greater the buzz, the greater the camaraderie, the greater the interest by both mainstream and alternative media.
If you’ve never organized a bake sale before, it’s probably not nearly as difficult as you think. The most important step is securing a venue. Popular locations include farmers markets, community centers, supermarkets, food co-ops, campus gathering places, and churches. The WVBS web site, www.veganbakesale.org, has lots of tips on finding a location and on just about every other aspect of putting together a vegan bake sale. The web site also has vegan baking tips, links to thousands of vegan baking recipes, and promotional materials such as web banners and sample press releases.
Bonus! You may be able to get your bake “sale” funded if you make it a feed-in. Details are here: http://www.veganbakesale.org/veganbakesale/vbs-funding.html.
The official start of the WVBS is in about two months. That gives you enough time to reserve an ideal spot, amass your team of awesome bakers, promote the event every which way, sign up on the WVBS site (don’t forget that!), and decide which tantalizing creations to feature.
Actually, if you’d like to participate but can’t do it during the “official” nine-day period (April 24 through May 2), that’s ok. It’s invigorating and impactful to part of a crazy week-plus of bake sales happening all over the globe, but really any time is a good time for a vegan bake sale. In 2009, some vegan bake sales on the WVBS schedule were in December.
Note that bake sales can be as big or small as suits your style, budget, and time restrictions. The massive bake sales put on by the San Francisco vegan foodie cartel have practically redefined the bake sale concept; they are stunning and their impact is enormous. Yet one person with a table of homemade vegan cookies is, in some ways, even more inspiring, by showing that any individual can make a positive difference.
Whenever and wherever your vegan bake sale happens to be, and whether it takes up a city block or is in your workplace lunchroom, you’re showing people that they can indulge in cookies, cupcakes, muffins, brownies and other delectables without cruelty, without exploiting animals. Together, the vegan bake sales in the WVBS – each with their own distinctive flavor — blend together to create a finished product that is not only richly rewarding but changes the world.
If you’re not up to organizing a bake sale, there is another very crucial role you can play. Check out the WVBS schedule, find a vegan bake sale near you, enjoy some super-tasty treats, help out a worthwhile cause, and support your local talented and hard-working vegan bakers.
Spread the love, spread the frosting. The second annual Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale – April 24 -May 2, 2010.
About the writer: Gary Loewenthal became vegan in his mid-40s, in 2004, and has been very active on behalf of animals since then, “to make up for lost time.” He is the co-founder of Compassion for Animals (www.compassion4animals.org), started the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale, has written animal advocacy articles for a variety of online and print publications, and regularly volunteers with Washington, DC animal protection and animal rights groups.