In reply to Cater Vegan By Default by Tantek Çelik

I fully agree with Tantek here. (ht Jack Jamieson) Doing vegetarian or vegan by default at events is meaningful as well as easy to do. No non-vegetarian minds it, especially not with non-veg side dishes. For organisers it takes away the friction of having to keep track of various diet options.

At last year’s Techfestival (an event for thousands in Copenhagen) I was pleasantly surprised to see all catering was vegetarian by default, and the speakers dinner I attended was mostly vegan. It is important to also note that that speakers dinner was the most memorable meal I had last year, for its creative play with tastes, colors and textures.

For IndieWebCamp Amsterdam, based on the ‘vegetarian by default’ suggestion given to IndieWeb organisers, I arranged it that way too. Pre-event dinner and the first lunch were vegetarian, and the second lunch had plenty vegetarian options on the menu as well as non-vegetarian.
For our birthday unconferences from the start we catered vegetarian at the same level as non-vegetarian (our bbqs definitely aren’t vegetarian as such). It reduces overhead and planning while at the same time increasing the variety and sense of plenty of what’s on the table. It’s easy to have plenty of vegan salads, vegetable dishes and soups, with non-vegetarian food served alongside.

Defaults matter, and changing them works (changes behavior). Instead of making “vegan” or “vegetarian” a special meal option, flip it around, and cater vegan by default…

Tantek Çelik