GVS Vegan Information Stall
We realised when out leafleting that the best conversations we were having were with the few people who actually approached us to talk when they realised what we were doing there. They wanted to talk about it. They wanted to tell us "I really admire you vegans, but..."; "I know what happens to animals is not right, but...." and we discussed their doubts, they thanked us and said they would come and speak to us again another time.
We realised that we could have real impact if we set ourselves up somewhere where people could approach us, ask us for information, and challenge us with their "buts". We wanted a positive, pro-vegan approach, inviting people to approach us to find out more about veganism.
With the Scottish weather cover is essential and so we bought a gazebo and some other kit. We went out onto Buchanan Street, Glasgow on a Saturday, on one of the coldest days of the year, and set up. We were quite nervous about it because we had no idea what the response would be. What if no one approached us!? Would we get any negative reactions?
About ten minutes after we'd set up two girls approached the stall. They were already vegetarian. We chatted about the cruelty in dairy, they tried some samples and took some leaflets and left saying they were going to go vegan!
It just continued to build from there. We had the most incredible day with so many people coming to talk to us. Some of them already knew they should be vegan and just needed some practical information and support to do it. Others were simply curious about what we had to say. We were just amazed at the positive reactions we got from people. We did not get a single negative reaction.
We think the set up whereby people have to approach us really works. There's something in the psychology of that, where if you make it their decision so they are much more open minded about it than if you are trying to get them to take a leaflet, for example.
We now have three stalls each month in Glasgow and two stalls a month in Edinburgh, along with our monthly pop up stalls across Scotland in our GVS advocacy van (find out more about that at this link- and they just get busier every time. As we are completely dependent on volunteers the dates depend on their availability and so we don't yet have a set day for stalls, and instead we create an event on our Facebook page to let everyone know where we will be and when.
We organise all volunteers through our advocacy group on facebook so please join the group if you are interested in volunteering with us-
You can see when the next events are scheduled on our events diary.
We have a few vegan food samples on our stalls - cheese and crackers. We focus on stuff that most people can easily get hold of, things available in the big supermarkets.
We talk to people about the ethics, the practicalities of being vegan, nutrition and really anything they want to discuss.
We have found that people are almost always appreciative of what we are doing. The reality is that we are highlighting a dreadful injustice, but we are also empowering people because we're telling them they can do something about it immediately and without depending on anyone else.
Setting up a stall in the high street, being bold and open about it, it's saying to people veganism is not a fringe activity for a particular group, veganism has gone mainstream, we're proud of it, we're confident about it, we've got answers to all your "buts". It legitimises it.
It's very empowering and everyone who has come along to help at a stall has found it a really uplifting experience.
We are really keen to help other vegans who want to set up an information stall in their home towns. We'd love to see them all over Scotland, and the U.K.!
If you'd like to help out at one of our stalls please read these volunteer guidelines,
if you agree with this approach / will follow this on our stalls you can join our GVS Advocacy group for stall volunteers. We understand that some people feel uncomfortable speaking to people directly; however if you feel you may have other skills that you could offer GVS please don't hesitate to get in touch.
You can also make a donation by using the button below: