How to Host a Vegan Cookbook Club for Meat-Eaters, Vegans, and Everyone Else
Mt. Royal Branch Library by Bonnie Ambrosi and Alicia Peterson
A promotional flyer posted outside the main door of the Mount Royal branch of the Duluth Public Library reads, “Do you want to eat more plant-based meals because . . . it’s good for your health?It’s good for the environment? It’s good for animals? It’s delicious? Your son or daughter is vegan and you have no idea what to feed them? Whatever your reasons, come to the Vegan Cookbook Club to share great recipes and meet new friends.”
On the first Thursday of every month, the staff at Mount Royal arrange chairs in the group meeting area, anticipating a room full of enthusiastic people “all very passionate about life and good food,” as senior technician Paul Griffin observes. Attendance at these monthly meetings varies from 15 to 25, and the numbers have been gradually rising ever since the first meeting in December 2016.
Created and Sustained by Partnership: A note from the librarian
The library’s part in creating this program was mostly just saying “yes.” Sure, we can host a Vegan Cookbook Club. …What does that mean, exactly? Logistically speaking, it means we provide the space, the print and online promotion, and the collection. Bonnie and other leaders spread the word more broadly than we could alone, and facilitate the monthly meetings. They also maintain an optional email list for sharing announcements and meeting minutes, and they expand their impact through things like tabling at a local wellness fair and writing articles about plantbased diet for the local paper.
We would not have thought to host this club without their input. Even if we had, the welcoming atmosphere, growing numbers, and laughter we hear through the meeting room door every month is all their own doing, and we are delighted to partner with them. If hosting a vegan cookbook club has never crossed your mind (it certainly hadn’t crossed mine before), it’s a great example of interest-based programming that, like Anime Club for teens, can bring diverse people together around a common theme and become more than the sum of its meetings.
Further information on the Vegan Cookbook Club…
Episode 29 – Vegan Cook Book Club – A Conversation with Bonnie Ambrosi
Wellness Renaissance podcast, May 15, 2018
The Vegan Cookbook Club: Eat a rainbow of colors in Russian Salad
Duluth News Tribune, May 23, 2018
Vegan Cookbook Club: Updating ambrosia for modern tastes
Duluth News Tribune, June 27, 2018