When I was first pregnant back in 2009 I mostly used my old copy of Becoming Vegan as my vegan pregnancy resource since there were a dearth of other resources out there. As the years have gone by I’ve tried to share my experiences with being vegan through pregnancy, nursing, and then raising young children, in large part because I saw very little of that out in the world. But recently I found a resource I wish had existed back in my pregnant years and that I’m thrilled to have exist now: Generation Veggie.
Generation Veggie is a website devoted to all things vegan parenting. There are loads of resources about the meat, dairy, and egg industries, animal testing, dissection in schools, zoos, etc. Even more important for vegan families, there are resources geared to our specific needs, like dealing with schools and daycares with a vegan child to a weekly column by a registered dietitian. And of course, as with any good vegan resource, there are loads of delicious, family-friendly (read easy) recipes. In addition there are tons of other articles on topics ranging from the top 5 books for wildlife lovers to teething remedies, to a timely article about how to pack easy school lunches for your vegan child! (Shameless plug – that last article is one I wrote!)
Reannon Branchesi founded Generation Veggie after having the same experience as many expectant vegan parents. After a wide internet search about being a vegan parent what she found was a few blogs and a smattering of nutrition articles, but no central community or resource that she could connect with. Branchesi took matters into her own hand and decided to create that community.
Generation Veggie is decidedly a community, in addition to being an excellent resource. In one post Branchesi calls for fellow vegan parents to write in and tell their own stories about their vegan parenting experiences. Generation Veggie also has a robust Facebook Page and Twitter account giving ample opportunity for fellow vegan parents to engage with each other. As Generation Veggie continues to grow Branchesi hopes to cultivate more local groups for vegetarian and vegan families. She believes that “community is the key not just for us as parents but also for our children as they navigate living with compassion.”
Of course, since the site’s launch some topics have strongly resonated with readers (myself among them). Anya Todd’s (R.D.) “Everyday Nutrition” advice column, and her articles about healthy foods for toddlers — especially dispelling myths about protein and extra fat needed in a toddler’s diet — have been very popular. Another popular topic is one that is super important to me as my oldest heads up to kindergarden: navigating schools and daycares with a vegan child. As Branchesi says, “When a child leaves the home, our families can feel particularly vulnerable — especially when the child may be too young to understand what “vegan” means or to explain what they eat — and we worry about how teachers, other parents, and our children’s peers will react.” I know this is true for me, and having the Generation Veggie resources as my family starts a new transition has been incredibly helpful.
Ultimately Generation Veggie is the resource for vegan parents that I wish I had six years ago, but that I’m also glad I have now. The wide range of articles and resources has something to fit the current needs for any vegan family, and the ability to be part of a larger community is validating. Being vegan in a non-vegan world is easier than one might think but also comes with a host of challenges for us and our children. As Brachesi writes:
“I think it takes bravery to choose a vegan path for your family. While it’s easier than ever to be vegan and our numbers are growing by leaps and bounds, it still takes courage to choose to be different and to raise your child to question the norm. Teaching our children to be compassionate for all animals — not just those who share our homes — is a revolutionary act. Rather than tamping down their innate connection with animals, rather than reading them a story about loving cows and then feeding them a cow’s body for dinner, rather than asking them to disassociate from their humanity, we are inviting them to be kind. In this world, kindness is powerful and it takes bravery to stand firm to that ideal.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself. For more insights and loads and loads of resources and recipes, check out Generation Veggie!