Talking Tofurky had a chance to speak with Michael Weber, the Executive Director of FARM, about The Great American Meatout 2013, his role and how we can all participate in this important “holiday”.
TT: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your role with FARM.
Michael: As the Executive Director of Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM), I have my hands in a little bit of everything we do. Two of the most noteworthy projects I run are crafting the speaker program for the Animal Rights National Conference, and directing the implementation of our Sustained Vegan Advocacy strategy.
In a nutshell, the Sustained Vegan Advocacy strategy takes the vegan movement beyond mere “seed planting” educational efforts, into achieving quantifiable results for the dietary change we seek to create. By obtaining a commitment from those who we reach, and then sending helpful follow-up resources to them, we are working to sustain their initial commitment to move towards a vegan diet.
This strategy guides all of our public outreach initiatives, from the massive 10 Billion Lives Tour to the annual international Meatout campaign.
What is Meatout 2013. Can you tell us a bit about the history and significance of this campaign.
Meatout is the world’s oldest grassroots education campaign aimed at promoting vegan eating. Started in 1985, this campaign has literally reached tens of millions of people with the message that giving veganism a try is fun, rewarding, and easy!
This year, we’re taking the campaign one step further by seeking to obtain 25,000 pledges by non-vegans to ditch meat, dairy, and eggs for (at least) the day of March 20th. We are offering this pledge both online and in-person, and pairing it with a free vegan starter guide, recipes, and discounted vegan product coupons.
How can people get involved?
People who are already vegan can get involved in a number of ways.
Easy: Set up an event in your area enticing people with free vegan food samples from companies such as Tofurky, Whole Soy, or So Delicious. Ask each food recipient to take the Meatout Pledge.
Easier: If planning an event isn’t possible, use our directory to “find an event” already happening in your area, and volunteer at that. Or simply pass out our Meatout flyers an hang our posters on bulletin boards around you workplace, college, or city.
Easiest: Invite your friends and family to take the Meatout Pledge online! Share it via email, Facebook, Twitter, or any social network.
Those not yet vegan can take the pledge (see below).
What do you see as the biggest barriers for people who want to reduce or eliminate their animal product consumption? Along those lines, what are the best ways to overcome those challenges?
I think the biggest barriers are cravings for nonvegan foods and dealing with social situations where everyone else eats animals. Fortunately, there is a whole world of vegan foods that taste just like animal-based foods. Some personal favorites of mine are Tofurky & Field Roast Sausage, Gardein Chick’n, Daiya Cheese, and So Delicious Ice Creams. Regarding social situations, we have a huge amount of tips at LiveVegan.org, and Pledgers can also receive our e-course which is filled with this type of information. Lastly, there are a few nutrients which new vegans are wise to pay special attention to. Every nutrient the body needs is available in a vegan diet, but it’s not a bad idea to work to ensure reliable B12, D, Iron, and Calcium. (On the plus side, vegans are far less likely to be deficient than the average American in a number of other nutrients!)
What can people do if they want to take the Meatout Pledge?
Just take it at www.meatout.org/pledge! You’ll get the option for a free vegan starter guide, free recipes, and our Live Vegan e-course. PLUS, if we reach our goal of 25,000 pledges, Meatout will prevent 8,000 animals, from being raised and killed for food, 3.7 million square feet of rain forest from being logged for raising animals and 10,000 doses of antibiotics from being misused on animal farms.
Thank you, Michael and all the hard working folks at FARM. Tofurky is proud to be a sponsor of Meatout 2013 and we are eager to hear about all the outreach stories and successes this years events will bring. We’ll be randomly choosing 5 of your comments below to win free VIP coupons for Tofurky products. Let us know how you’ll be participating in MEATOUT 2013!