Hi, and welcome to the first Vegan Information Project blog entry.
The formation of the Vegan Information Project (VIP) resulted from a desire to try something other than the prevailing types of animal advocacy outreach in Ireland. On-the-street outreach has been largely limited to a small pasting table, leaflets, banners, and some chanting.
VIP’s “Vegan Information Day” stall in Temple Bar Square, Temple Bar, Dublin, Wednesdays, 11 am to 7 pm, breaks out of that convention and brings together several outreach elements.
- Literature distribution (leaflets, booklets, and an especially made map showing the vegan-friendly cafes and restaurants in the Dublin area)
- A cafe area (“Tea Station”) where people can sit and talk about veganism, have any of their questions and concerns addressed. Often people will just sit with a free cuppa reading the free literature they have just picked up
- “Pay-to-View.” This is an element we are still working hard on improving. The traditional Pay-to-View idea involves giving people money to entice them to watch a very graphic piece of footage lasting for about 4 or 5 minutes. Our P2V is different in the sense that we “pay” people with a cupcake/similar and a cup of tea and have a range of film clips of differing lengths they can watch. In the future, we hope to develop this aspect of the Vegan Information Day stall by purchasing a super quiet generator to run a whole bank of screens
- The distribution of free vegan food samples
- In exchange for reasonable donations: vegan food portions (cupcakes, brownies, apple pie (and vegan cream), focaccia, biscuits and banana cake), home-crafted necklaces, bracelets, and rings, badges, and coming soon, a range of T-Shirts
- Occasionally we also feature guest groups who bring their own information literature, for example, anti-vivisection petitions, etc
- 3x3m weather-proof gazebo stand with strong “catering” tables
While the traditional “small table” outreach is flexible and quickly set up and taken down, and so has a continuing value and utility, the Vegan Information Day stall offers a new experience of outreach for both the public and the people who staff the stall.
The Trust that runs the Temple Bar area has extended our contract into 2014, meaning that we should be able to be a regular presence on the streets of Dublin over the Christmas period and into the New Year. The weather-proof gazebo stand will mean that we should be able to cope with most of the weather Ireland will throw at us! For example, the gazebo has 3 side panels which can be attached, one solid “wall”, one with a large window in it, and one with a large door in it. We’ll be experimenting in the coming weeks in terms of how to arrange the “furniture” inside the gazebo when the sides are used. In fine weather, we use the gazebo in a diamond shape, increasing its size and visibility.
Leaflets and Booklets.
One unique aspect of the stall is that people will sit and read the literature given to them. Animal advocates have often wondered, and indeed worried, about what happens to the literature they give to people on the street. We do know that a percentage always ends up in waste bins and on the ground – how many are actually read is unknown.
It is gratifying, therefore, to see that the literature given free at the stall is being read. Not everyone immediately sits and reads their newly-acquired leaflets, of course, but some do – and that’s good to see.
At present the Vegan Information Day stall is being funded by the private funds of its staff. The Vegan Information Project is entirely run by grass roots volunteers. Everything raised thus far is used to repay those private monies, and also used to develop the stall with the purchase of necessary items such as pump pots, printer, laminator, etc.
for the Vegan Information Project