Today I met with Hannah Eyre a twenty two year old UTS student living in the inner west. As with most university students the simple promise of a paid for coffee, on soy of course, and here she was happy for me to pick her brain on all things vegan. Hannah prides herself on having an informed understanding of the lifestyle she keeps. Her training in science at UTS and keen passion for knowledge surrounding the vegan lifestyle means this girl really knows her stuff. In July this year Hannah created an online forum called ‘Evidence Based-Vegans’ that has already attracted over 100 participants.
What is the purpose of the ‘Evidence Based-Vegans’ forum?
I like the idea of civilised debates and discussions based on scientific evidence around the vegan diet and lifestyle without the potential of insult or heated arguments. Lots of the online communities revolving around veganism have a spiritual focus. These forums are great for the social aspect of veganism, like markets or social event, but the health side can be really misinformed. I wanted to create a space where people can discus vegan matters that are back up by scientific research.
Do you feel social media has created a space that allows yourself and others to freely discus your views?
And do you think you could actively participate in the vegan community as much without the Internet?
No, definitely not. I think it would be far more isolating to be a vegan without the internet. I mean, its great to be a vegan living in Newtown but more rural areas of the country have no idea what to think about veganism. There are people on the ‘Evidence based-Vegans’ forum from rural towns around Australia who have to order all their vegan products online. For these people a sight such as ‘Evident based-vegans’ links them to other people who share their views, or even sometimes links them with people in their area.
You also volunteer at ‘Lentil As Anything’ a vegan restaurant where customers simply make a donation of their choice after the meal. Could you explain some of the differences in participating in these two vegan communities?
Well, at Lentils’ people aren’t necessarily there to discuss veganism, lots of people that go there aren’t actually vegan. The whole philosophy of Lentils’ is that anyone can come and get a meal and share in the experience. Even though veganism isn’t the sole focus when you come in, it’s a really positive presence in the community because we are able to share delicious food and a friendly environment with people who maybe don’t know that much about our lifestyle. The online forum on the other hand is really for people who want to get informed or discus topics about the vegan lifestyle, like health, morals, ethics or events. Both are important but very different.
And quickly to finish, picture the world 50 years from now, do you think the vegan diet is a realistic or suitable alternative to our current western diet?
Yes! Definitely, even if people don’t fully adopt the lifestyle in a all or nothing sense its being more widely accepted and talked about everyday, so yeah, I definitely think in 50 years time we will see a lot more vegans.
Evidence Based-Vegan Facebook:
Lentil As Anything Newtown website/Facebook/Instagram:
Special thanks to Hannah Eyre for participating in this research.