Dig in! Hundreds of vegans hold massive Thanksgiving potluck at UBC

A Thanksgiving potluck for the ages went down at the University of British Columbia Monday.

An estimated 300 to 400 guests. Two-hundred to 250 dishes. Fifty volunteers — and not a turkey in sight.

The potluck was held by vegan and vegetarian dining group Meatless Meetup, which labels itself the largest meat-free dining meetup group in Canada.

A sampling of some of the vegan and vegetarian dishes brought to Meatless Meetup’s Thanksgiving potluck Monday. (Jacy Schindel/CBC)

It was the latest instalment of an annual event to showcase the benefits of a “compassionate,” meat-free feast.

“It shows how we really could have a Thanksgiving without a turkey and create so much creative and loving food,” said Emmy Ibramovic of Vegans of UBC, which co-hosted the event.

Meatless Meetup organizer Nancy Callan said the event is also about highlighting the benefits of eating less meat. She cited health, animal welfare benefits and environmental benefits as the main reasons her group comes together.

An estimated 300 to 400 people attended the meatless Thanksgiving event. (Jacy Schindel/CBC)

She also said a completely meat-free Thanksgiving is rare for many of her group’s members.

“It’s not about that there are no foods on the table they can eat,” Callan said of many vegans’ difficulties with conventional Thanksgiving. “They actually feel bad about the animal that died and is the centrepiece of the meal.”

Callan said while the Thanksgiving potluck is one of the group’s main traditions, they generally host four to six events each month and anyone can join, even if they don’t plan to quit meat entirely.

Nancy Callan is an organizer with Meatless Meetup. She believes it is the largest meatless dining group in Canada. (Jacy Schindel/CBC)

“We’re not at all dogmatic,” she said, explaining the goal is to encourage “shifts” away from meat eating, of any size.

“We’re not the kind of group where we think you have to sign some kind of pledge or perhaps feel like a hypocrite.”

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