There was an amazing turn-out for the first vegan BBQ in Lawrence, Ks -- which coincidentally was 25 years to the month after the first vegan BBQ in Kansas City! Although many people came and went over the course of the several hours of this event I counted about 100 adults there at one point -- but don't really know how many attended over-all. Below are photos of the event. (All the best ones were taken by Emma Perkins --Thanks Emma!)
Amazingly -- the monsoon that hit in the KC area about 3 -4 pm never hit the park we were at. We got a few sprinkles of rain as we were setting up and then just as the BBQ began the sky cleared and we had lovely 80 degree weather through-out our BBQ!
It was wonderful to meet so many people interested in plant-based diets, environmental sustainability and social justice. Many attendees told me how much they loved the fact that this event didn't just provide a delicious meal, but used the gathering as an opportunity to educate the community as well. Food and beverages were served at several different spots under the large shelter which kept lines and wait times to a minimum, and there was great variety including tossed salad, Kale salad, bean and corn salad, cookies, watermelon, chips and a variety of dips and of course burgers dogs and even, carrot dogs -- with all the fixings.
There was an information table with free literature and magazines and educational posters and banners were hung up to help people understand the environmental, health and social justice benefits of veganism. a raffle with prizes like great vegan books, a basket of food items and a basket of items targeted for a family with young children. The American Vegan Society donated some of the books for the raffle too...
Sprouts Farmer's Market helped by providing the condiments, and Natural Grocers Donated 25 dollars towards the purchase of burgers.
The Vegetarian Resource Group donated a stack of the Vegetarian Journal which were provided free to anyone who wanted one -- along with lots of other free literature.
Lisa the founder of Barefood'N Happy was there sharing samples of her delicious cashew cheeze spreads. Everyone loved them!
And there was other information strung about...
My heart went out to several people who told me they were especially appreciative of this BBQ, because of encounters with some of their non-vegan family and friends who interpret their choice to be vegan as a negative judgement of them for eating meat/dairy/eggs, in spite of the fact that these vegans hadn't ever talked about their veganism. In fact they told me they went to great lengths to hide the fact that they even were vegan, so as to not make the non-vegans in their lives uncomfortable.
One of the things that surprised me, was how far away some people had come from -- Topeka, Lee's Summit and even Wichita!
But for some of the attendees the best part of this event was happening just outside of the sheltered area. Here's to our future and the future of peace, justice, non-violence and environmental sustainability!