• News Flash: Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale

    Posted on April 23, 2011 by in COMMUNITY

    Today is the offical 1st day of the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale! If you are like me, the words “Vegan Bake Sale” is music to your ears. Last month I volunteered at the Vegas Veg Las Vegas vegan bake sale and we raised $500 for Japan. It was such an awesome experience being apart it. I love vegan bake sales not only for amazing treats but to show non vegans how delicious and flavorful cruelty-free baking can be. Isn’t it great when a non vegan eats dessert, they rave about it and they didn’t even know it was vegan? Sneaky yes but it’s a great way to introduce veganism to skeptics. {This is the only way I get my family to try vegan foods. My parents now only want to eat vegan donuts… it’s a start!}. With the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale coming soon, I thought it would be fun to learn more about this fun project. Gary the founder of WVBS gave us an insightful interview with tips to start your own vegan bake sale. Enjoy.

    1. What is the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale? Who are the creators?

    The Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale (WVBS) concept is almost too simple: Groups hold vegan bake sales during a nine-day period (two weekends and the week in between), or as close to that timeframe as possible. Each participating group can do whatever it wants to with its proceeds. There are only two rules, and the second one is really a request: Everything sold or given away must be vegan, and participants should register their bake sales to get them listed on the WVBS schedule. The simplicity and lack of rules in the WVBS may be main reasons why it’s been successful. An overview of the event, which goes into more detail click here.

    This year the “official” WVBS dates are April 23 through May 1. To all readers who are considering participating in the WVBS during that “mega week”: you need to get your location nailed down and start amassing your team of awesome bakers and volunteers soon! And sign up! :) The WVBS website has tons of tips for planning and holding your vegan bake sale.

    I got the idea of a national vegan bake sale in late 2008 when our newly-formed group, Compassion for Animals, decided to hold a small fundraiser bake sale. I figured that if we were to let each participating group decide how to spend its proceeds, the project would be much easier to administer and more attractive to potential participants. After mulling the idea over, I decided it may as well be a North American event that includes Canada and Mexico. The group discussed it and it expanded into the WVBS.

    I built a quick web site and started looking for groups I thought might want to participate, and emailed them. I was very lucky to get some help from many organizations – including the Toronto Vegetarian Association, the Post Punk Kitchen, Compassion Over Killing, Farm Sanctuary, VegFund, and others – that first year, which helped to publicize the event and give it momentum. I’m forever grateful to everyone who helped get the WVBS off the ground, as well as all those who continue to participate and/or spread the WVBS love. Customers at the bake sales are awesome, too!

    2. How can someone start & post their vegan bake sale on the site?

    1 – Decide to hold a vegan bake sale during or as close to practical to the Apr 23-May 1 dates.

    2 – Start looking for a place to hold the bake sale (the bake sale tips link above has lots of ideas).

    3 – When you’re about 90 percent sure that the bake sale will happen – even if you haven’t found a venue – fill out the “easy as pie” signup form.

    4 – Amass your team of awesome bakers and volunteers, promote your bake sale, and so forth. And have fun!

    Getting a location is usually the most crucial step. Remember, bake sales can be tiny; there’s no minimum size. Some WVBS participants are holding bake sales in the office lunchroom, at their home, and at a lemonade stand with their kids.

    3. How many vegan bake sales go on each year that you know of?

    Last year there were 140 vegan bake sales that were part of the WVBS. We’re on track for about the same number this year – although there could be a late surge in signups <hint>!

    4. Where is the big Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale coming up is April? Can you buy online?

    The biggest bake sales tend to be in the larger cities, such as New York and San Francisco. Word on the street is that Portland event is going to be a contender this year for biggest WVBS bake sale.

    Vegan bake sale rock stars such as the Sydney Vegan Bake Sale, Sidecar for Pigs Peace which held their first bake sale as part of the WVBS and now hold them regularly, have the process down pat and always raise a good amount of money for their causes. But I also very much “heart” the smaller bake sales in areas where there may not be a lot of support for veganism. The folks who organize these bake sales are playing a very important outreach role, and perhaps in much tougher circumstances than cities with relatively large vegan populations. But all the vegan bake sales are unique and wonderful in their own ways.

    I hadn’t thought about online bake sales as part of the WVBS until this year, when I happened to see a great online vegan bake sale for Japan organized by Chocolate-Covered Katie. I asked her if she’d like to be the first online bake sale in the WVBS and she graciously agreed. So now we technically have an online component in the WVBS, and we’ll very likely expand on this in the future.

    5. What charities/causes does the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale profits support?

    A lot! Since the bake sales are vegan, and a fair number of groups that do vegan outreach participate in the WVBS, animal charities such as humane societies, farm animal sanctuaries, and wildlife rehabilitation centers are popular. But also proceeds have also gone to cancer research, diabetes research, special needs child development centers, anti-discrimination programs, river cleanup and various other environmental initiatives, crisis and victim support, anti-hunger efforts – you name it. This year, quite a few groups are holding vegan bake sales to help the human and nonhuman victims of the disasters in Japan. Also, many groups participating in the WVBS use their bake sales as fundraisers for their respective groups.

    Note that participants in the WVBS can use their bake sale proceeds however they like, and are not required to reveal how they’ll be using them – though most do.