Group Leaders from around the world are starting Pods during the pandemic. While meeting in person is potentially dangerous for many new groups, Pods in the United States are not waiting for the pandemic to subside before hosting meetings. Instead, most new leaders are finding success in hosting online meetings. Here are the stories from three new Pod leaders as they host their first events during a time of social distancing.
Co-Group Leaders Joan Gagnon and Debra Diamond of Veg Your Way – Health At Any Age Pod in Mansfield, Massachusetts, hosted their first meeting via Zoom. Their goal was to introduce the Pod members to each other and to determine what each member was hoping to get out of joining the Pod. With five members in attendance and two co-leaders, the new Pod represented a wide range of plant-based experience, from those who are new to the lifestyle to veterans with 40 years of experience. Joan said, “I am so excited that I now have a community of people with which I can share my passion for WFPB and spread the word.”
Original Submission received from Joan Gagnon of the Veg Your Way – Healthy At Any Age Pod on June 18th, 2020
Group Leader Celeste Knoff and co-Leader Mary Larson of East Side Evolution in St Paul, Minnesota held their first meeting online on July the 14th. They sent out email invites and also posted the event on their Facebook page and regional MeetUp site. The seven members who attended were both dedicated and engaged in the meeting. Some members were already acquainted, but for many, it was their first time getting to meet one another. All were welcomed and invited to introduce themselves and share a part of their plant-based story. Members noted both similarities and differences in their plant-based paths, but they were eager to learn from others and share their experiences.
During the meeting, Celeste introduced members to the nonprofit, PlantPure Communities. She shared the website, the resource pages, and the group watched the introductory video. The Pod imagines its guiding philosophy as a three-legged stool consisting of diet, environmental sustainability, and animal welfare. They decided to meet monthly—virtually for now—and will try a variety of meeting types, including potlucks, cooking classes, presentations/speakers, videos, field trips, and service activities.
Original Submission received from Celeste Knoff of the East Side Evolution St. paul Minnesota Pod on July 14th, 2020
Group Leader Donna Spencer of PLANTiful Fare NW Houston, Texas, kicked off the 7th Houston Pod with her first online event on June the 3rd, and her second event on July the 7th. Donna’s first event featured an introduction to PlantPure Communities and the Pod Network. She described the basics of the plant-based lifestyle and shared a recipe with her new members. The second meeting featured a more interactive component where members were able to join in a cook-along to make stir-fried noodles with veggies. The new members were surprised to learn how easy it is to cook without oil! Plans for the August meeting include learning how to read food labels and a chance to practice a new oil-free roasted cauliflower recipe.
Original Submission received from Donna Spencer of the PLANTiful Fare NW Houston Texas Pod on July 7th, 2020