09 February 2012

Vegan Testimonials project aims to inspire new vegans [Interview]

Going vegan is a big decision for most people. It means re-evaluating everything you thought you knew about food, creating new habits, and learning a new way of living. So how can we inspire people to take the leap? By sharing the stories of those who are succeeding and thriving with a plant-based diet. The Vegan Testimonials project at ReadyforPlanB.com aims to do just that, and the project's creator tells TDIV all about it.

TDIV: We appreciate you taking the time to tell us about the project, Peter!

Peter: Before we get started, I just wanted to say thank you to you, Kasey, and to This Dish is Veg for your enthusiasm and help with our Vegan Testimonials project, I’m looking forward to speaking with you about it and appreciate your help spreading the word!

TDIV: First of all, please tell us how you got the idea for the project.

Peter: Well, right at the top of my list of things that are awesome would be when a friend or family member tells me they’ve decided to go vegan! I love it when that happens. With Twitter and Ready for Plan B my attitude has been the only thing cooler than helping one person go vegan is helping two people go vegan! Right? The more the merrier.

There have never been more people interested and exploring veganism or plant-based diets than there are right now and I want to help them. Knowing there are so many interested in veganism and that my story only resonates with a sliver, I decided to start recruiting my twitter friends to help out by sharing their vegan stories. Now together we’re building a resource to inspire people that are interested. I figured with 100 testimonials, we’d start to reflect our diversity and have enough stories that people could really dig into it. Hopefully our collection connects with a much broader audience. By leveraging cool friends on Twitter, we’re able to reach out and support a lot more people. So forget two new vegans a week, we’re going big!

TDIV: What kind of effect do you think these testimonials will have on readers? 

Peter: I hope the testimonials encourage people to go vegan! These stories should inspire new and potential vegans and show that going vegan is absolutely worth doing. Go vegan for animals, for the environment and for your own health. I also hope they are educational so that people see real vegan stories, rather than stereotypes or perceptions. The reality is the vegan community is incredibly diverse and inclusive and I’m proud of that and want to reflect it. We’re not all... fill-in-the-blank with a stereotype... and it’s important people understand that. There is plenty of room on this bus and we want you to feel like you can be part of it.

The real silver lining to the testimonials is the network of incredible vegans that it provides. A new vegan can not only find a story they can relate to, but also connect with that person [with the contact information provided] and have real support from the community going forward. Every testimonial mentions their Twitter account or blog, and all of them are up for helping out and answering questions.

TDIV: What has been the response to the project so far, and to the testimonials you've already posted? 

Peter: So far the feedback has been incredible! I’ve been underway for about ten days and so far I’ve posted the first ten, I have another five ready to go, and there are more than fifty underway. From the data on web traffic, the average visit to the site is about ten minutes. People are reading them. We have a lot of cool people working on their story and we’ve had some great conversations with new vegans.

TDIV: In your discussions on Twitter, you've seemed really moved by the testimonials you're receiving. How is collecting and reading these testimonials affecting you personally?

Peter: Oh my gosh, these stories are amazing! I admire the hell out of my friends that have written them. I am so grateful to be able to share their experiences. They’re so cool to lend a hand and their honesty is a testament to how important veganism is to them. I can relate to so many parts of their stories, too. The internal conflict and the stress that results from eating meat when you care about animals, for example, is something that several talk about and it just takes me back to those moments that I had. Times when I knew I had to change but was still part of it all. In my mind’s eye I can still see the piece of pork on my plate… yuck.

Another theme that just blew me away was how going vegan dramatically improved their health. Whether they started out in good shape and running marathons or they were facing multiple chronic health issues, everybody was way better off after they went vegan.

TDIV: I'm sure that our readers are going to want to get involved. How should people contact you if they want to participate? 

Peter: I am definitely looking for more people to participate and some help! If anyone would like to participate and submit their own vegan testimonial, they can email it to me at plantbasedcyclist@gmail.com. Please include a photo to personalize it a little more. Please reach out to me on Twitter as well @readyforplanb. We’re going to be friends, so come and say hello!

I am also talking with a few people about helping out with the blog and this project. I know that if I had somebody wonderful to bounce ideas off of and share the work load with, we could get a lot more done! If you have great ideas and good editing skills I’d love to hear from you!

View the Vegan Testimonials at http://www.readyforplanb.com.

Kasey Minnis | Facebook | @veggiemightee | Blog
Fort Lauderdale, FL That rare and elusive species known as the native Floridian, Kasey is passionate about protecting other endangered creatures. She lives by the principle “compassion and crochet for all,” and enjoys teaching others – including her husband of 20 years and two beautiful children – the benefits of cruelty-free eating by feeding them tasty vegan treats from her kitchen. Contact Kasey at kasey@thisdishisveg.com.

Photo credit:Peter/ReadyforPlayB.com