My new, personalised leaflets:
The Everyday Activity Shop and are a great conversation starter. I've been giving these out to everyone I meet.
Tuesday 25th May 2021
Gave out a couple of dozen leaflets to a gang of construction workers who regularly gave me encouragement when I swing past their building site whilst doing my training. Also on offer was a piece of my chocolate cake, just to show how tasty vegan food can be:
One of the guys, who'd seen me coming, had a load of spare change to give me, so another £2.80 goes into the pot.
Wednesday 26th May 2021
Good start to the day with a phone consultation with a physio. After taking my history, and hearing about my challenge, he said he would mail me some knee strengthening exercises. I told him I attribute my physical fitness to plant-based nutrition, and he told me he was interested in veganism, but was very nervous about it. So I told him I would send him some links which would allay his fears.
Later, whilst shopping in Taunton, I came across a young guy who told me he liked my VEGAN AF beanie. So I asked him if he was vegan - which he was, as was his partner. Lovely couple, Taylor and Lily. They'd both been vegan for about 5 years. Taylor had experience of Cubes of Truth in Sydney, and had met James Aspey. So he's going to look up AV: Taunton on Facebook, and maybe join us on the streets. Turned out he was also a runner, on and off, but his brother was a serious runner who had recently done the Somerset 6 peaks challenge, which I've not heard of, and I'm unable to find anything about it. We are both fans of David Goggins, so we swapped a few stories and quotes about him.
Later I asked a young checkout guy if he had any friends - he had three or four, he said. "Thought about it yourself?" I asked. He hadn't, but he took a leaflet and promised to check out all the links.
[This was written back in March, last year, just before the first lockdown. The material I use has changed, but the method - seizing every opportunity to start a conversation - hasn't. ]
3rd March 2020
Scroll down a bit for my latest outreach efforts - also known as the latest episode of, 'Never leave home without some AV cards.]
Casual outreach - and organised animal rights activism
When shopping, I try and head for a young checkout operator, and I ask them if they have any vegan friends. Generally, the answer is "Yes." I then produce a card and ask them to pass it along to their friend(s), pointing out the AV Taunton link - "We're always looking for new people to join us." Then I ask them if they’ve thought of going vegan themselves - and often the answer is they’ve thought about it a bit. So I quickly go through a couple of links on the card, on the back of which I’ve written “The Game Changers” NETFLIX, and I tell them to watch that.
I've now started asking older checkout operators if they have any vegans in their family - same conversation ensues, although not so often.
If I see anyone pick up a vegan item in a supermarket, I'll start a conversation - often starting off by saying, "Oh, I haven't tried that, what's it like? Are you vegan yourself?" And away we go. Or I'll check out someone's items on the conveyor belt at the checkout.
I've been known to ask a group of obviously fit young lads about their fitness - then it's "Have you watched The Game Changers? It's about these elite athletes who are all going vegan and finding their performance is enhanced - not just their performance on the playing field!" Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. 😎
I'm a bit more circumspect when it comes to young women, although there was a girl on a train not long ago, carrying a hockey stick, and carrying a sports bag. I asked her if she'd heard about a plant-based diet improving sports performances. She was very interested and promised to look into it.
If you've read all this waffle, you're probably wondering where you can get hold of these AV cards I keep handing out. The best way is to join your local AV Chapter on Facebook. We're AV Taunton https://www.facebook.com/groups/1909455942700636/ - and come along to one of our Cube of Truth demonstrations, where we try to educate the public about the horrors of animal farming, asking them to go vegan. It is, without doubt, the most painless way into activism. YOU are in control of how much you want to participate. Standing there, behind a mask, supporting a TV, with a sling over your shoulders (doesn't weigh much, and you can keep your hands warm in your pockets), you're part of a static display which attracts passers-by. When you've had enough and you want a break, someone will swap you out, and you can hang around and shadow an experienced outreacher talking to someone. ONLY when you feel comfortable - and this is at your own pace - do you begin to do some outreach. Often, what happens is that you'll be standing there behind the mask, you'll hear one of the outreachers make a point, and you'll think to yourself, "I could have said that", and slowly, your confidence grows. I've said this before, but it bears repeating: Becoming active for the animals is the quickest and best way to increase your circle of vegan friends. I began my AV activism knowing perhaps half a dozen other vegans - now I have scores of ARA friends, all over the SW. People I'm proud to stand alongside and fight for the animals with and call my dear friends - my second family, in fact. And the satisfaction, and fulfilment that you feel after a Cube is immense. I spoke to about 7 people in Bath today, who all said they would check out the links on the card with a view to going vegan. I doubt this will happen straight away with all of them, but, seeds have been planted - and with one couple, who said they would support each other, I'm pretty confident that they will make the change.
As vegans, we all have the benefit of going to sleep with a clear conscience. But just being vegan is a non-action - it's like being a non-sexist, or a non-racist, it should be the default position - you're merely not contributing to the violence towards animals. As an Animal Rights Activist, you also have the benefit of knowing you're doing something good for the animals - and you're on the right side of history!💚💪💚
Tuesday 3rd March 2020
Wednesday 4th March 2020
Honestly, it's getting easier all the time!
In the Co-op this morning, I asked the young guy behind the till, 'Do you have any vegan friends?' 'My family is vegetarian, but my two sisters are both vegan,' he said. Well, you can imagine how good that made me feel. He took a card, promising to have a look at some of the resources on there. My usual line about all the help and support you can get on vegan22.com wasn't really necessary, since his sisters would be able to give him all the support he needs. He promised to tell his family about AV Taunton. Be great if they came to join us! 💚🙂💚
Young checkout woman in Morrisons: I was super excited about some new ice cream lollies I’d found - Chockas, I think - in Morrison’s vegan ‘Taste’ range, £2 for 6. ‘These look really nice,’ I said to her, ‘Don’t suppose you’ve tried them yet?’ Which she hadn’t, yet, and she showed no interest at all. “There’s more and more vegan stuff coming out these days, isn’t there? You’re not vegan, by any chance?’ ‘No.’ ‘Got any vegan mates?’ No, no vegan friends either. So I thought that was it. But as I was gathering up my bag to leave, she said, ‘I wouldn’t mind going vegan, but it’s too expensive.’ I told her ‘No way,’ and showed her the pot of Taste ice cream I’d bought - 80p - and lentils and rice are cheap, etc, etc. I gave her a card, and, since the guy behind me was still loading his stuff on the conveyor belt, I was able to talk her through it.
Then, in Sainsbury’s later (I get around, I do), I was again excited, this time about the plant-based Richmond sausages I was buying. “Have you tried these? They’re the best plant-based sausages I’ve come across.” This time the young operative was very interested. “Are you vegan, then?’ she asked. I told her I was, and it was the best thing I’d ever done. She didn’t eat much meat, had been veggie (for the animals) in the past, and would very much be up for going vegan. I gave her a card and told her about 3 of her colleagues in the store who had gone vegan.
When I got home, my wife was on Facetime to her sister-in-law. ‘Louise has something she wants to tell you,’ she said. Turns out that Louise and Dean, her husband, had watched The Game Changers, and were in the process of changing their diet. She said how much she admired me for ‘…being ahead of the game,’ and how healthy they were both feeling. Well, made my day, that did. For the past 15 years I’ve been the only vegan in our extended family - and now I’m not alone!
Saturday 29th February 2020
Casual outreach in the last week:
Checkout guy in Sainsbury’s, eyeing up my Richmond sausages, ‘I didn’t know they were doing those plant-based now!’ Turns out he was veggie and was very interested in the vegan message I gave him. That’s 3 vegans in that store, now.
In the Cube in Taunton, last week, I had occasion to visit Boots, which is just by the Cube. In there, I was approached by a family of three adults. They’d visited the Cube a fortnight earlier, and as a result, the whole family was in the process of going vegan. ‘Not quite there, yet,’ the mother admitted, ‘but we’re getting there.’
Young woman at the counter had a lovely tattoo, which I complemented her on. Then I asked if she had any vegan friends. She had several, so I passed her a card with AV Taunton details on the back, telling her that we were always looking for people to speak up for the animals.. She was open to the idea of veganism and promised to look at some of the links on the card.
In M&S, purchasing their no-chicken Kievs (highly recommended). The woman in front of me at the checkout asked me what they were like. She had been thinking of going vegan, ‘For the planet’, so she got a card. Her parting words were, “I’m so glad I bumped into you this morning!’ The checkout operator heard some of our conversation, and I asked him if he was vegan or had any vegan mates. To which he replied that he did have friends that were vegan - so he had a card as well.
In the Giraffe cafe in Bath today, as we were leaving, I said to our waiter. “You’ve got some nice vegan choices on the menu (which they had), are any of the staff vegan?’ ‘I’m vegan,’ he said. He told me his girlfriend had been vegan for 4 years, ‘Then she converted me, a year ago.’
On the train to Bristol, we sat next to a young couple. As soon as I saw the guy’s painted fingernails, I knew I had an opening. “You look like you’re fairly adventurous, can I ask if you’re vegan?’ He’d been vegetarian for a while, ‘For the animals,’ but had lapsed and now liked the taste of bacon too much. Nevertheless, after our conversation, both he and his girlfriend took a card and promised to look at some of the links on there. The guy, who said he had several allergies, was especially interested in vegan22.com, when I told him there was advice about medical conditions on there.