Before I became vegan, I thought November was the worst month of the year in Geneva, Switzerland. The mountains are too cold and wet for hiking but don’t yet have enough snow cover for skiing. The gorgeous autumn colors start to fade, and everything turns drab, dreary and damp.
After going vegan, though, I discovered that November is World Vegan Month and that the vegan community in French-speaking Switzerland really pulls out the stops for this month-long celebration! There’s no better time to be a vegan in Switzerland.
From three-course dinners to film screenings to cooking courses, the month of November is packed with activities for anyone who is thinking about becoming vegan, or maybe just going vegan for a month to try it out. If you’ve ever thought about taking on a 30-day vegan challenge, the time is now!
World Vegan Month honors the founding of The Vegan Society in the UK by Donald Watson, which happened back in November 1944.
While lots of vegan communities and organizations around the world celebrate World Vegan Day on November 1st, I’ve never seen anywhere else that puts on such a jam-packed monthly calendar of activities as the French-speaking region of Switzerland.
The month-long event is organized by the local association Pour L'Égalité Animale, whose name means “For Animal Equality”.
In Geneva, the event calendar for 2016 kicks off with the opening night on November 1st, where four vegans from different walks of life will share their experiences and answer questions from participants who are about to start their month-long vegan challenge.
On Saturday, November 5th, French author and editor Méryl Pinque will give a conference on the ethic of non-violence that underpins the vegan movement. And on Saturday, November 19th, Dr. Jérôme Bernard-Pellet will answer all your questions about plant-based nutrition.
There will be not one, but TWO screenings of the short film "My Life's a Cage" – a poetic fable that uses a mix of animation and live action to explain the exploitation and suffering of animals without graphic footage.
Both screenings will be followed by a talk given by the film’s director, Guillaume Corpard. While the talk on Thursday, November 10th will be for an adult audience, the one on Saturday, November 12th will be aimed specifically at children and young adults ages 9 to 17.
The month-long celebrations will come to a close on November 30th with a delicious three-course meal at Slup – a vegan-friendly restaurant that prides itself on offering “healthy food for all”.
The calendar also includes a couple of interesting hands-on workshops. You can join a cooking class and learn to make your own almond milk. Or if cooking's not your thing, you can learn how to make your own washing detergent and other household products with natural, non-toxic ingredients!
These are just a few of the highlights of World Vegan Month in Geneva, and it doesn’t end there. Lausanne has a very vibrant vegan community too, and the movement is spreading! Pour L'Égalité Animale is also organizing activities in smaller cities across the Swiss cantons of Vaud, Valais and Fribourg.
Check out their website for the full calendar of World Vegan Month events. Whether you’re ready for a 30-day vegan challenge or are just curious and want to hear more about the vegan lifestyle, you are welcome to attend any or all of the World Vegan Month events.
I highly recommend starting with the opening night on November 1st! It’s the perfect opportunity to have all your questions answered and to be matched with a mentor who can give you support throughout the month if needed. And don't worry, while the events are primarily in French, there are sure to be plenty of English speakers around.
Just click the button below and sign up to participate. What are you waiting for?