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A Little Community Goes a Long Way

Today’s challenge is brought to you by Vegucated creative consultant and guest poster Jasmin Singer. You’ll see that we’re a bit of a mutual admiration society around here. Jasmin is the fabulous co-founder and executive director of Our Hen House–named by VegNews Magazine as the “2011 Indie Media Powerhouse”–and the co-host of the same-named podcast, which we’re completely addicted to. 

Where would we be without the friends who refuse to let us turn away from the truth? When I look back at how I went from vegetarian to vegan, to animal rights activist – a journey that led me to my career, my life’s purpose, and even my life partner – I credit one person: Marisa Miller Wolfson. At the time, nine years ago, Marisa was a new vegan and a fellow starving actor in NYC. We met through a mutual friend who was, unsurprisingly, smitten with her (a common response). We then regularly ran into one another at auditions, and at one point even started an ill-fated knitting circle (I became adept at complicated knots). When Marisa finally sat me down to show me footage of factory farming, I sat and cried. How could I not have known? When she soon introduced me to folks as a “new vegan,” I thought, “well, I might as well own it.” So it was Marisa’s fault, all of it. And, of course, going vegan was the best possible decision of my life.

Nine years later, I am the Executive Director of Our Hen House, a multi-media hub of opportunities to change the world for animals, and the co-host of the same-named podcast.

When I am asked for the key to embracing veganism successfully, I vividly recall Marisa’s support, and one word rings true: community. Without it, going vegan may be difficult, alienating, and, for some, end in a peer-pressure-induced relapse. With community, however, you will expand your circle of friends – both in person and online. Your questions will be answered. You will find a safe space to question, vent, cry, laugh, share, and explore. And you will learn how easy, accessible, affordable, delicious, fun, and necessary veganism is.

Sanctuaries are a great way to find community. Here Jasmin visits New Dawn MT Farm Sanctuary. She’s pictured with sanctuary director Sue Eakins.

Just as I tried to make clear in my little scene in Vegucated – the one in Candle 79, for those of you who blinked and missed it – a little community goes a long way. So here are some tips:

• Join or create a vegan Meet Up
• Attend a VegFest
• Volunteer at an animal sanctuary
• Host a vegan potluck (invite the vegan-curious)
• Connect with vegans on Facebook and Twitter (like Our Hen House!)
• Post an ad on Craigslist looking for other vegans, then meet for a soy latte
• Get involved with outreach efforts of groups like Vegan Outreach and Mercy for Animals



Like Marisa and I did, find a friend, and then find a community. Empower each other – and yourself – to change the world. I’m excited about your journey!