[VegTucson] Coalition Mixer!!

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What if you only had one food to eat for the rest of your life? What if the only food you could ever access was russet potatoes? No salt. No spices or seasoning. No ketchup, mustard, or BBQ sauce. No condiments, and no added flavors. Just ... russet potatoes. Sure, russet potatoes are very good, but would you be satisfied with just russet potatoes when you know the bounty of foods nature provides? What if the one food you had access to was black-eyed peas? Or cilantro ... just cilantro? Or nutmeg ... just nutmeg?

Of course we are not satisfied eating only one food. The need for variety is where recipes come from; we take many ingredients and put them together to create ever new and exciting dishes. However, many of us, or perhaps most of us, in the plant-based community go about our lives with access to only one or two ingredients, and we rarely share, or we share very selectively. But what if we came together and shared our ingredients openly with intention and purpose? What kind of master dishes could we come up with?

This is where the VegTucson Coalition comes in. We all have one or more ingredients - it could be a skill, a talent, an idea, an abundance of time or money, a lot of connections, or a mastery of the word, computer, or law. We have largely kept these ingredients to ourselves because we don’t know how or where or with whom to share them. That is, until now.

This is the core purpose of the coalition; it is to give a space for us all to come together to share our ingredients and create a master dish for us all and the world to share in. It is a network; a place to find others and build alliances, to share time, talent, and treasure, in order to make our lives and our world a better place.

Recently, we had a launch party, which was very well attended - thank you to everyone who came and made it a success. Now the time has come for our first mixer; a time and a place to meet and find out what ingredients we have and what master dishes we can create!

The FIRST MIXER is scheduled for Wednesday, March 16th, at 6 pm, downtown at Veg Box Cafe. The address is: 75 E Pennington St, Tucson, AZ 85701. Street parking is free after 5 pm, or you can park in the Pennington Street Garage, across the street, for a few dollars. The mixer is open to all current and prospective members. If you have not already signed up for the coalition, please do so at coalition.vegtucson.com/sign-up-form. We are looking for other free locations to hold these mixers so it may not always be at the same place.

We are planning to have a brief introduction about the coalition and the project ideas, and answer any general questions. Then we will probably break off into groups focused on a project, based on who is interested in a given project. We're also looking for new project ideas, so put your thinking caps on! We should have plenty of time throughout the mixer and towards the end to eat, chat, and get to know each other. It should be a lot of fun!

Join us, and let’s create a master dish!

FYI, here is some more background on VegTucson and the VegTucson Coalition, and the difference between the two:

There are two main ways to see VegTucson. The first is as the publicly facing organization that provides education and announcements to the general public. This is done primarily through VegTucson.com, facebook.com/VegTucson, and through the VegTucson email list (this email, for example).

The second way to view VegTucson is through the coalition. We have a dedicated coalition website where coalition-specific information is shared (coalition.vegtucson.com), an email group, and a Facebook group.

The purpose of the public side, VegTucson.com, is simply to connect with the public, spread awareness of plant-based lifestyles, educate, offer help and promote certain events. The coalition side, coalition.VegTucson.com, is for coalition members to cooperate and organize.

So what are we going to do? Well, this is up to all of us, together. We are a member-run group; there are no funders, employees, assets, shareholders, executives, or other "people at the top". There is an operational team that provides some guidance, direction, coordination of effort, and maintenance of resources, but other than that, what we as a coalition end up doing depends entirely on each of you, what you want to do, and how you wish to participate.

We have some initial project ideas posted on the coalition website here: coalition.vegtucson.com/projects. In summary:

Veganize Restaurant Menus

This project seeks to help non-vegan restaurants convert their easily convertible non-vegan menu items into vegan ones. A lot of restaurants have a lot of menu items that are almost vegan or almost vegetarian, that, with just a few small modifications (e.g.: plant-based milk instead of animal-based milk, or Daiya as a cheese option, or vegetable oil in the refried beans rather than lard, etc), would be vegan. This team will develop a strategy to approach restaurant managers and politely work with them to make small changes to their recipes to make them vegan, in an effort to serve vegans in the community and expand the restaurant’s appeal to more customers.

Event Tabling

There are a lot of events around Tucson that allow third parties to have a table or booth that hand out flyers and other information. Members on this team would go to these events to pass out information about VegTucson, the VegTucson Coalition, encourage email list sign ups and Facebook likes, share information about plant-based lifestyles, hand out other approved flyers such as 30-day vegan challenge plans, and leaflets for upcoming events that we choose to promote.

Outreach Support Group

There are many people who would like to be active in promoting plant-based diets, such as leafletting or event tabling, but who may be intimidated by the occasional unruly member of the public, or who may be stressed or lonely doing all this work alone. This support group would regularly meet to discuss outreach, strategies for effective outreach and dealing with unruly individuals, and otherwise de-stress and/or vent.

Think Tank for Struggling Plant-Based Businesses and Groups

Many times, plant-based businesses, groups, or charities struggle to find an economic foothold to stay afloat. This group is a think tank and action group whose mission is to help those businesses and groups solve their vexing challenges.

VegFest Tucson

This is a long-range goal. We would love to have a large annual VegFest in Tucson again. However, this will require a large amount of planning, time, people, and resources to pull off, which we do not have at this early stage. Nevertheless, we should have this project and goal mapped out on the horizon.

The VegTucson Coalition
Where veggies go to grow