- Posted March 20, 2010 by
Falls Church, Virginia
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Bake Sale USA - Your Recipe for Success
The Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale - homespun success
In late 2008, our small, newly-formed nonprofit group, Compassion for Animals, was thinking of ways to do outreach and raise funds. Someone suggested a bake sale. I loved the idea.
While planning for our first bake sale - which would feature all vegan items, since we're vegan and advocate veganism - I got this idea: "When people taste homemade vegan baked goods for their first time, they are often stunned by the deliciousness. What if we had a national vegan bake sale - groups across the country all holding vegan bake sales during the same week? What a great way to promote the tastiness and diversity of vegan baked goods."
We talked it over and the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale (WVBS) was born. We decided that the only rule would be that everything sold or given away had to be vegan. Participants could do whatever they chose with the proceeds.
I built a quick web site (www.veganbakesale.org) and started emailing groups and contacting meetup organizers, podcast hosts, and Internet forums. I had no idea if anyone would respond.
But people did start responding. When we got up to 20 groups participating, we were ecstatic. Then it turned into 30, then 40, and 50 and so on. We had signups from the U.S., Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, and even Africa. Radio show hosts started contacting me, asking for an interview. When I did a Google search, "Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale" was everywhere.
By the start of the official nine-day WVBS period, there were over 80 bake sales planned. Participants included a Los Angeles City Councilmember, a pre-school, a "radical science fiction" convention, and of course lots of animal protection and vegan outreach groups. Many of the groups participating in the event made colorful posters; some combined their bake sales with music or craft shows.
The event was a huge success. Over 25,000 dollars was raised for a variety of causes, including farm animal sanctuaries, local animal shelters, river cleanup efforts, sustainable community gardens, and more. One particularly poignant bake sale raised funds for a colleague's brain cancer treatment.
Thousands of people were introduced to vegan chocolate chip cookies, cupcakes, cinnamon buns, cheesecakes, Danishes, and at least a hundred other forms of desserts. The feedback and camaraderie was amazing, One bake sale, in San Francisco, raised over $3000. But the smaller ones, sometimes run by one person in not-so-vegan-friendly areas, were just as impressive and impactful.
This year, and from now on, the WVBS will be held in late April - early May, to accommodate school-based groups and as a hedge against frosting melting in warm climates. The second annual Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale runs from April 24 through May 2. We expect to raise even more money this year. We're excited about the vegan bake sales occurring in Singapore, Helsinki, and Bucharest, as well as everywhere else. Our fledgling web site has matured in the past year, too, and now offers an extensive list of bake sale tips, vegan recipe links, sample press releases, and vegan baking hints. Of course, it also has the full schedule and signup forms. Participants may also be eligible to get their event funded; details are on the www.veganbakesale.org web site.
Although our primary motivation for vegan food is ethics - for instance, on dairy farms, two-day old calves are torn from their mothers, and in the egg industry, nearly all laying hens come from wretched hatcheries that kill the newborn male chicks by brutal methods - there are also some health advantages to holding vegan bake sales. Since there is no dairy or eggs in any of the items, customers with either of those two common allergens may be able to purchase goods. In addition, the lack of dairy greatly reduces the chance of food spoiling if it is in the hot sun..
There are many problems with food safety today. There's arsenic in chicken feed; manure from feedlots is an ever-growing pollution problem; the huge amount of antibiotics fed to factory farmed pigs is creating deadly antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The culprit is not bake sales.
Spread the love and the frosting! There's still time to participate in this year's Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale.