A week and a half ago, I returned home from NYC where I attended Main Street Vegan Academy. Now I’m a Vegan Lifestyle Coach and Educator. It was an amazing and life-changing experience, and has left me with tons of information to process. I’ve been thinking for many days, how to sum up the experience in a blog post. Some of the points on my mind for the last week or so:
- I met so many great people and each one had something new to bring to the discussion, from every angle. Feeling like I have 20 new friends and allies all at the same time-for an introvert like myself, it’s cool, but takes some processing!
- The case for living the vegan lifestyle was already obvious in my brain, and I spend a lot of time reading and consuming tons of information about vegan issues. As with most things though, I didn’t know it all, and there are a lot of new things to think about. The case now is beyond obvious for me, it’s super-crystal-mega-clear.
- The amount of animal cruelty in this world is overwhelming. The more I learn, the more I am motivated to do something about it. The “double-edged sword” is that it’s SO pervasive that it’s tough to decide where to start.
Victoria Moran has done an astounding job putting together 5 intensive days of lectures, outings and activities that cover every aspect of being vegan. I was surprised to find that some topics that I didn’t think would be all that interesting were highlights of the course (more on that later.)
The pre-requisite material, including books and podcasts, was extensive and provided a lot of background material. Victoria and her carefully-selected instructors brought it all to life and added many more fresh and new ideas and information.
Victoria hosts this event in New York City, which has a ridiculous variety of everything vegan, foods of all sorts, fashion, cosmetics, really anything you can think of is right there. Along with that, there is a huge and active vegan community. Our class saw a lot of glimpses of this world throughout the week and I have to say, I was pretty jealous! It brings me hope, that our worldview is spreading and that someday, we’ll have the entire culture shifting toward this unity against animal cruelty (and really people-cruelty as well, if you think about the side effects of using animals.)
Personally, I don’t really know any other vegans in my day to day life. The Charlotte area is one of the many geographies that is lagging way behind in realizing that we can greatly reduce suffering of animals as well as humans by just changing what we perceive as food and clothing. I can’t describe how cool it was to be around nothing but other people who see the world in a similar way for almost a week. There was definitely a sense of “returning to reality” when I went back to work the following week, but I do feel infinitely better armed to handle apathetic attitudes towards animal suffering, hopefully in a more compassionate and understanding way than I might have in the past.
This started as a single blog post about the Academy experience, but as I started writing, I realized it would be about 97 pages or so once I finished talking about all the topics that on my mind, so for now, this will serve as an intro, and I’ll blog about the details more over the coming weeks. I’ve had some really good chats with my fellow graduates that have brought up more topics to dig into – from the fun, like fermentation (I didn’t forget about you, Craig and Lisa), to the deeper – such as redefining what constitutes a “Real Man” in our culture or why we even need such a silly term (thanks Hannah Phoebe.) For now, I’ll just sum it up like this: If you are passionate about any topic related to veganism, or just want to learn a ton, do yourself a huge favor and attend this academy. You will definitely level up your activism and knowledge.
Before I go, here’s my shout out to my new buddy, Forbes – Victoria’s very cool pup. He’s a cool guy and loves all the attention from his visitors.