About a year ago, I started organizing monthly vegan potlucks for Spokane Vegans and am so encouraged by the growth we've had. When I started the group, I only knew one other vegan in Spokane and now I've made friends with several other veg*ns through out the Inland Northwest. It's nice not to feel so alone, but most importantly, we're building a community and developing a vegan culture in a place that didn't really have one before. I admit that the idea of starting the group was daunting at first, not knowing what kind of response there would be, but the results have been so rewarding! We have such a unique opportunity to really build a vegan community from the ground up and connect with other conscious eaters. The Inland Northwest has so much to offer in the way of sustainable agriculture and is something we veg*ns can encourage and support. Businesses like Fresh Abundance and restaurants like Picabu and Mizuna already serve the (growing) Spokane veggie community well. Now it's time to encourage other area business owners and restaurateurs to do the same - and I hope to see Spokane Vegans start doing this.
I'm really excited about the future of our group. We've just made the switch from Meetup.com to a mailing list format with a supporting group blog and Facebook group. There is talk of starting a vegan/food-conscious reading group and a pet-sitting network. I'd really like to see the group develop some visibility within the community at large and become more active in making Spokane a decidedly veggie-friendly city. I know we've all heard it a thousand times, but this quote from Mahatma Gandhi still inspires me: "Be the change you want to see in the world."
*For more information, or to get involved, please email spovegan [at] gmail [dot] com