October 3, 2010
Erin Floresca, Contributing Writer
What happens when you get a brilliant idea aimed at connecting all the vegheads in the U.S.? You go for it! And that is exactly what Portland-based Barnet and Tara Love are doing. It all began with a question: "Wouldn't it be cool to find all the raw, vegetarian and vegan business owners in our neighborhood?"
The pair figured that there was a higher likelihood that their dollars would go to supporting the kinds of philosophies they resonated with when they patronized a veg business owner. "This way, when we (for example) spend $1,000 on braces for our kids with a vegan orthodontist, we'll know that none of our hard-earned money will be used to put a steak on someone's table," says Barnet. "This idea appealed to us."
In fact, it was so attractive to them that once they got the idea, they've been working on it around the clock. And they won't stop where their neighborhood boundaries end--the Loves plan to reach the entire U.S. veg community.
So, just how do they plan to form this veggie tribe? That’s where their new endeavor, New World Veg, comes into play. "All throughout America, there are raw, vegan and vegetarian business people in every walk of life: plumbers, veterinarians, architects... who are quietly living their lives and trying to do the right thing," says Tara. "New World Veg is here to conduct a nationwide search to find these individuals, and to share their talents and gifts."
"Not only do we want to locate these people," she says, "but we also want to drive traffic to their businesses to ensure they thrive." Quite simply, New World Veg is a business directory that connects veggie consumers to veggie business owners. But that is just the beginning. "It is also a place for like-minded folks to gather, to learn, to support one another and create community," says Barnet.
New World Veg made their debut at the Portland VegFest and got an amazing response from folks who stopped by their booth. The website, which officially launches late October, features free membership for individuals and a small annual membership fee for businesses.
What does membership include? Individuals will have access to exclusive online cooking classes, discounts from raw, vegan, or vegetarian-oriented businesses and access to "veginars" (webinars for veggies). Experts in the field of health and wellness will be instructing these veginars, and some great well-known speakers are already lined up. Tara explains, "Jonathan Balcombe, PhD., the vegan author of Second Nature, the Inner Lives of Animals and Pleasurable Kingdom, is on board to do a veginar for us on animals and their feelings. We expect to have an exciting and diverse selection of topics for people to enjoy, both entertaining and educational. We want people to have a good time."
Businesses large and small will have all of the benefits of a regular membership, plus access to expert advice from a vegan marketing consultant, and the ability to send special discount veggie-related offers to the member base. They’ll also have the opportunity to deliver their own veginars at nominal cost… so even if they’re a small local chiropractor or CPA, if they’ve got something worthwhile to say, New World Veg can help them say it.
New World Veg also wants to connect members to the work of non-profit groups that fit the mission. "One of the most exciting aspects of what we'd like to accomplish is to bring to our members a multitude of entertaining and informative speakers and programs that would be presented by raw and vegetarian and vegan non-profits," says Barnet. "We’re grateful and we want them to flourish. We hope to actively be involved in fundraising for them."
And actively involved, I’m sure they will be. This pair has already accomplished so much in just a few short months. Lifted by their success at the Portland VegFest, they’ll be at the Albany and San Francisco VegFests October 2 and 3, and the Orlando VegFest on October 23. They took their inspired thoughts and turned them into action, now it’s up to the rest of us to hop on board and help take this dream to the next level.
May the power of the veggie tribe activate--in the form of a New World Veg!
For more information visit www.newworldveg.com or call 503-688-9688.