The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

Joining 4-H as a Vegan

Posted on March 23, 2010 by Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor

VRG is in the process of compiling a set of Teen FAQs, written by our wonderful interns and volunteers.

Today we are featuring two FAQs relating to 4-H written by VRG volunteer Corey Bivins:

I am thinking of joining 4-H. I am vegan. What kinds of activities could I do?

When you join 4-H you join a community club and enroll in projects and participate in group activities and meetings. The club elects officers, conducts educational programs, practices community service and fulfills county club expectations. If you aren’t interested in a particular club, there are single project clubs. The only difference between a community club and a single project club is the focus. Single project clubs focus on one specific project, such as Photography. Jessica, a former vegetarian 4-H'er, belonged to a club that focused only on rabbits. She also said there was a nature drawing club, a double-dutch jump rope club and a public speaking club within her community [...]

Here are a few project ideas:

  • You could choose to do an agronomy project where you explore the areas of plant genetics, plant physiology, soil science and weather. You could set a goal of growing your own sunflowers and give a speech on the different diseases of sunflowers.
  • You could choose to do a cake decorating project where you learn the about cake molds, borders, tiered cakes and special icings. You could set a goal to make a vegan icing to decorate cakes with and enter your final project in a fair.
  • You could choose to do a geology project where you study rocks, minerals and fossils. You could set a goal to take field trips to collect specimens and exhibit your collection at a fair.
  • You could choose to do a sewing project where you develop skills to design and sew your own clothes. You could set a goal to make an entire outfit without using any animal by-products, such as leather, wool or silk.
  • You could choose to do a foods and nutrition project where you could learn to make many tasty vegan recipes which may involve modifying recipes that have eggs, dairy or meat. Displaying these at a fair and sharing these delicious recipes with other members, leaders and judges will help spread the word that vegan dishes – including baked goods – can be delicious as well as healthy.

Click here to read the entire FAQ.

I am a vegetarian thinking of joining 4-H. What are some ways that I can fit in?

4-H is all about the projects, be they animals, photography, sewing, cooking, vegetable growing, furniture refinishing, etc., then documenting and showing off to the judges what you’ve learned and/or done throughout the year. As a vegetarian, you may need to develop techniques to handle certain situations where you are faced with the fact that it’s not a vegetarian world. These techniques could include planning ahead (carry a vegetarian snack), conflict resolution skills (let people know how their actions make you feel), avoidance (not attending certain activities) and a positive mental attitude (create a way of making something undesirable more enjoyable).
Sometimes people bring a snack to 4-H meetings. You could eat beforehand or bring your own snack, either for yourself or to share, like hummus and crudités, cookies or popcorn.

When you plan to go to a 4-H activity where lunch or dinner will be served, you could suggest ahead of time that there be at least one vegetarian dish on the menu or offer to bring a vegetarian dish, such as vegetarian chili, couscous and roasted vegetables or vegan quiche. Some 4-H groups offer a vegetarian option. For example, the Purdue University extension held a clinic for judges and leaders and offered a vegetarian lunch consisting of a Veggie Wrap (chopped broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, bell peppers, and red onion with Italian dressing) with a spinach salad.

Click here to read the entire FAQ.

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