About Vegetarians of Washington
Vegetarians of Washington is an independent 501(c)3 non profit organization, formed and incorporated in the state of Washington in June 2001. We are an active and dynamic group with events happening in and around the Puget Sound, and in many other parts of the state from time to time. We are the largest vegetarian organization in the Northwest and one of the largest in the country. Run by full-time, experienced professionals, we also have a large team of advisers from major, relevant sections of the community, including medical, religious and business leaders.
Our mission is to help improve the health and well-being of people and the world we live in, both by encouraging mainstream Americans to discover the advantages and pleasures of vegetarian food, and by providing support and service to the vegetarian community.
We aim to improve circumstances in the mainstream of American society. We care when people die needlessly from heart disease and other diseases of excess in the developed world, and from starvation in the developing world. We care when the environment is damaged and animals suffer. We have faith that a better world is possible, and that educating people about the vegetarian solution is one way to make a real difference.
To achieve this, we established the following goals:
- To help the average person, who follows a standard American diet, recognize that a vegetarian diet is a much healthier option, that it’s tasty, affordable, popular and easy to do.
- To help the environmentally conscious make the connection between the food they choose to eat and the environment they inhabit.
- To help those who feel compassion toward animals understand the harsh conditions that animals endure due to current farming methods, and that a vegetarian diet can eliminate some of this suffering.
- To help the spiritually minded see that a vegetarian diet can be spiritually enhancing.
- To help the new or experienced vegetarian or vegan feel comfortable with their food choices, to help them gain social acceptance and know where to turn for help when needed.
We take an open arms approach, welcoming everyone, whether they’re an experienced vegetarian, a beginner or just curious. We aim to make people from all walks of life and all ages feel welcome at our events. We encourage people to try foods that are new to them, and to learn how to prepare them. However, we recognize that people need to proceed at their own pace and just do the best they can. We believe that more success will result in the long run if people feel comfortable trying to eat one vegetarian meal a week, rather than if they feel pressured into going completely vegan right away.
So how do we do all this? We accomplish our mission and goals by:
- Holding quality monthly dinners where all are welcome
- Producing a regular e-newsletter to inform and entertain
- Offering informative classes, to teach nutrition and cooking skills
- Organizing a huge vegetarian food festival, Vegfest, which encourages the general public to learn more and give vegetarian foods a try
- Writing books that explain the advantages of a vegetarian diet, and show how easy it is to do
- Writing articles to be published in peer-reviewed medical journals, on the prevention and treatment of disease with a plant-based diet
- Participating in other community events, to reach out to new segments of the population
- Engaging both vegetarian and non-vegetarian businesses by bringing them into contact with the vegetarian community.
- Being an authoritative resource for the medical community, the media and the community at large
We see ourselves as advocates, educators and supporters, rather than activists. We’re here to help people. We don’t do protests, civil disobedience or political lobbying. We focus on helping mainstream people because we want to open their eyes to new ways of looking at vegetarians and vegetarian food. We encourage and support businesses of all sizes, whether vegetarian or not, to offer more vegetarian and vegan options, because we want tasty vegetarian choices to be available at every restaurant, store, dinner or potluck. We believe that working with the non-vegetarian portion of the community is the only way the vegetarian movement can grow.
The focus of our members is wide ranging, varying from those who care mostly about their health or spiritual well-being, to those whose emphasis is on saving the animals and/or the environment.
If you are new to vegetarianism, and you were worried that you wouldn’t fit in, don’t worry. We think you will feel very welcome and supported if you join us.
If you’re an experienced vegetarian, we hope that you will join us to support the growth of the vegetarian community.
Whatever your current diet, we invite you to join us to make a difference.