For Evelyn Kimber, vegetarianism was not an option during her childhood. However, this would all change when she befriended a vegetarian while she was in college. Evelyn had her own longstanding interest in animal advocacy, so it was a natural extension when she became a vegetarian herself. Only then did she learn more about the health and environmental benefits to her decision.
Evelyn became involved with The Boston Vegetarian Society (BVS), which was founded in 1986. The BVS began with monthly potlucks, but the organization added sessions with speakers to its calendar and, ultimately, attracted more members. Evelyn was on the organizing committee, which became the Board of Directors when the BVS incorporated.
Today, Evelyn is the President of the BVS, which continues to offer a popular educational speaker series, dinner socials, cooking classes, and holiday events. In addition, the BVS is known for providing reliable vegetarian information to the public through educational outreach and media campaigns, including public transportation advertisements. The organization has become the place to go for information, education, and support in making changes—essential components for the commencement and the continuation of vegetarian diets.
With these activities, the BVS has built a support structure for vegetarians seeking community. Over the years, the organization, which is run solely by volunteers, has attracted wonderful people who have given substantially and joyfully of their time and talents. Furthermore, they help the BVS explore means to successfully represent vegetarianism as a positive way to live, with benefits for the self, the animals, and the earth.
Currently, Evelyn and the BVS are busy organizing the annual Boston Vegetarian Food Festival. This event, which was originally inspired by the Toronto Food Festival, was very difficult for the BVS to launch in the beginning. The volunteers had to catch up to the learning curve to put on such a major undertaking. They also faced an arduous amount of labor, including lining up sponsors and exhibitors and publicizing the event and, in turn, vegetarianism. Nevertheless, the reputation that BVS has built over the years has made this event progressively easier to organize. The Boston Vegetarian Food Festival is now in its 11th year and has grown to draw 10,000 people who wish to share ideas and experience vegetarian foods each fall. It has emerged as an avenue for small vegan businesses from across the nation to promote their products, as a networking event for people interested in vegetarianism, and as a life-changing experience for many who attend.
One of Evelyn’s continuing goals is to promote vegetarianism as a way of life that is enjoyable and consistent with the values of so many people who wish for a compassionate, healthy, and sustainable world. She also strives to demonstrate to the public that a lifestyle devoid of animal components is both feasible and fun! The Festival illustrates this well by showing the wide variety of products readily available in the marketplace. Then, the BVS’s year-round programs provide how-to information, a friendly social atmosphere, and an environment for personal growth.
Evelyn encourages all vegetarian activists to always maintain a positive attitude and to avoid being overly critical of others. And she invites all non-vegetarians to explore another way of living and eating, one that is a positive means to good health and sense of well-being.
For more information on the Boston Vegetarian Society, visit www.bostonveg.org.
Melissa Wong wrote this article while doing an internship with The Vegetarian Resource Group.
The Vegetarian Journal published here is not the complete issue, but these are excerpts from the published magazine. Anyone who wishes to see everything should subscribe to the magazine.
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