“From Grant-Based Activism to a Plant-Based Career”
As vegans, we celebrate plant-based foods as delicious, healthful, ethical, and compassionate. Plant-based foods are now one of the fastest-growing segments of the food-service industry. If you’ve ever entertained thoughts of working in the area of vegan food service, read on!
Last month, Liz Gary, founder of the New Options Food Group in San Diego and former VegFund grantee joined us to present our third activist training webinar “From Grant-Based Activism to a Plant-Based Career.” Liz shared her experience in the vegan food business along with her insider recommendations for finding or creating new career opportunities as plant-based foods professionals — whether full-time/career-track or part-time.
“Everywhere you go there is opportunity.” ~ Liz
We hope those of you who joined us found the topic inspiring. For those of you who were not able to attend, you can view the full presentation in our Resources section. Below is just a “taste” of the valuable information Liz conveyed in the webinar.
Liz’s tips on getting started in the vegan food business and where to find or create jobs fell into the following categories:
- Community engagement
- Rewarding jobs in education
- Representing plant-based foods manufacturers and consulting in the food service industry
- Culinary travel and tourism
- Special events and media
Get involved in the local community
- Find out what events are happening near you — green fairs, cooking classes, food tastings, community markets, etc.
- Better still — organize your own vegan food fair. Apply for a VegFund grant!
- Watch for paid and voluntary opportunities at nonprofit animal rights organizations such as The Humane League, Vegan Outreach, and Farm Sanctuary.
- And network, network, network!
“Outreach and community engagement translate into growth in the plant-based foods economy.” ~ Liz
Rewarding jobs in education
Consider teaching or setting up a “vegan cook club” within your local community! The following venues offer great opportunities to educate and engage with your community:
- Retail kitchen stores
- Cooking schools
- Local community colleges, high schools, your local public library
- Test-kitchen Tuesdays (donation-based community classes)
Representing plant-based foods manufacturers and consulting in the food service industry
Offer your plant-based food expertise and consult with the main drivers of the food network:
- Represent locally made plant-based products
- Sell your products and services to your local hospitals
- Consult with chefs
- Get on-board with popular political food days, such as Meatless Mondays and California Fresh Thursdays and use these as an opportunity to work more closely with your local schools
- Work with food administrators and distributors at correctional institutions
Culinary travel and tourism
Excite your local community with the offer of organized day trips to learn more about the benefits of plant-based foods. The following suggestions are popular options:
- Vegan restaurant trips
- Trips to Whole Foods Market
- Visit an animal sanctuary
- Vegan food and fashion shopping trips
- Visit a nonprofit animal rights office
- And more!
Special events and media
Holiday-themed events are a great starting point for engaging your community, especially if they translate well into a great local story or news item.
- Organize events around annual vegan holidays and national events, and get your community involved along the way; for example, Vegan Valentine’s Fun Run, Vegan Octoberfest, Cookie Bake-a-thon
- Talk to news organizations (whether print or TV) about vegan food
- Arrange lunch-time talks within local schools and workplaces
There are many opportunities waiting for you. Take the first steps today and build from there. Find out more about VegFund’s grant programs to support activists in their vegan outreach efforts.
The full webinar recording and slide show summary of key points are now available in our Resources section, where you can view all webinars from the training series so far. We also provide other online resources to support you in your animal advocacy.
If you have suggestions for resources you’d like to see featured on here send them our way for consideration. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or tell us on social media. You can find us on Facebook and on Twitter. If you have specific questions for Liz on the content of this webinar, you can contact her directly via email: email@example.com.