The Calgary Vegetarian Society (CVS)
The CVS has been around for quite a number of years, and has gone through many changes. Even though they did not incorporate as a society until 1993, there has long been a group of individuals who met regularly as a vegetarian group since before 1980 even. It is from that membership that the Calgary Vegetarian Society was born, as they set out to become recognized as a legal entity. The views and ideology has been maintained over the years; their mission statement has never wavered either:
The mission of the Calgary Vegetarian Society is to promote the health, ethical, environmental, humanitarian, and spiritual benefits of a plant based diet bringing together vegetarians in the City of Calgary and surrounding area for a common cause.
The CVS has long been about bridging people from different views on vegetarianism; those who are vegetarians for health reasons, cultural or ethical reasons, are all encouraged to come together and learn more about this lifestyle, in settings that tend to focus on the concept itself than on perhaps the politics behind many aspects of it. Needless to say there are some issues that cannot be ignored since they impact on virtually all of the adherents of vegetarianism, such as environmental issues, global warming, genetically modified organisms, etc, so there will be information sessions on such topics, along with dialogue on organic foods, the use of pesticides, and more. Back in the mid 90’s I was invited to speak on Animal Rights at one of their potlucks, which are held monthly, and the talk did generate some very favorable response from the membership; clearly there is room here for all views pertaining to vegetarianism, the idea being to strike a balance on them so as to not alienate anyone.
CVS has sponsored speakers as they have toured the country, when they would come to Calgary, luminaries in the vegetarian community such as Dr. Neil Barnard of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine(PCRM), Howard Lyman, former cattleman turned animal and vegetarian advocate and Brenda Davis authour and vegan nutritionist, to name a few.
CVS currently holds its meetings at the downtown Calgary Co-Op Mid-Town Market store, located at 1130 11th Avenue SW, with weekly meetings each Saturday at 10am, and monthly potluck dinners generally held in the same location on Sundays. They do have special guests from time to time as well, to discuss topical issues. From time to time they also have dining out evenings, where there is an opportunity to experience a local restaurant with the membership, another way to foster the social network within the society.
Through the CVS there came about the formation of another group, that being the Calgary Raw Vegan Support Group, due to an increasing interest in Raw Foodism in Calgary and area. This has been able to happen as a direct result of there existing the Calgary Vegetarian Society, and it promises to be an ever-expanding circle of interest in vegetarianism, veganism and raw veganism in the future.
The Calgary Raw Vegan Support Group (CRVSG)
- (403) 217-4525
The CRVSG is a recent group that formed as an offshoot from the CVS, getting their start in October 2005. They are dedicated to promoting and supporting vegan raw foodists, one of the more extreme dietary lifestyles within the ‘vegetarian family‘, at least that is, until one delves into it-and the reasons for going that route.
They meet on a regular basis in the Calgary Co-Op Mid-Town Market, at 1130 11th Avenue SW(upstairs room). There is no charge for these meetings, which are in fact potluck gatherings, and they feature speakers at times, as well as recipe exchanges, and more. The meetings are held generally on the 2nd Sunday of the month, from 4-7pm. They hold special gatherings for occasions, such as Valentines Day and St. Patrick’s Day, for example, so clearly this group is one that promotes camaraderie as well as support and information.
Diana Stoevelaar and Manu are the founders of this organization, and have been quite motivated in bringing it to the level of enthusiasm it is at currently, with numbers of members at over the 700 mark, with a core of 60 to 70 weekly member attendees, and a very strong show of increasing interest in it.
They have had a number of guests in to speak on nutrition and related topics, including Francis Reglin, VP of Avena Originals, Victoria Boutenko, authour and renowned specialist in the raw food diet, and Michael O’Brien, one of the world’s foremost and respected nutritionists.
They hold ‘cooking’ classes on a monthly basis, usually suspended during the summer months, and a series of free lectures too, on nutrition and such. The cooking classes follow themes, such as, “Mexican Cooking in the Raw”, etc.
Note: There is interest in forming an official Raw Foods Society in Edmonton, and as of writing this book there was nothing set into place. However, for thos anywhere in Alberta, who would like more information on raw foods, organizations in this peovince and more, Diana encourages people to contact her through the phone number listed at the top, or the website contact address.
AwesomeRawsome: As a result of the great interest and demand for more raw foods information, Diana and Manu have decided to launch a business to best represent and promote this rapidly expanding lifestyle choice. The basic premise behind Awesomerawsome is to provide information by conducting workshops and programs through community organizations, Continuing Education Programs, as well as selling apparatus that is designed specifically for raw foodists, such as blenders and mixers, dehydrators, cookbooks and more.