Denton Veg Society Breaks Bread to Discuss Issues

Underneath the warm glow in Denton County Brewing Company sits six people, passing plates and sharing stories. This group is gathered to share their love of vegan food to their neighbors plate in the form of a potluck.

Dishes marked with extensive ingredient lists are passed around the long table as they exchange curry, pita bread, cupcakes, and a myriad of other vegan recipes. This might come as a surprise to people who think vegans have a limited diet.

“We just try to have fun with it to show people that eating vegan food is more than just eating vegetables,” Michele Poindexter, 24, says as she scoops a serving onto her plate.

Poindexter is the group manager of the Denton Veg Society–a local group who has been educating the community on vegetarian and vegan lifestyles since 2009. The group holds a monthly vegan potluck at various locations around Denton.

Though the focus is on the food, Poindexter is determined to use these monthly outings as a way to connect with the community through food while also touching on ethical issues.

“I try to push veganism in this group to be more ethical in a sense of respecting each other and respecting all living things,” she said.

She also emphasized that veganism expands past eating animals, but it is not benefitting from any exploitation of animals in any aspect. Not going to zoos and circuses and not wearing animal products are examples of the many ways that Poindexter said veganism is applicable.

The group has partnered with a few Denton groups and organizations like Food Not Bombs, a local group who works to feed vegan food to the homeless.

Though many faces in the group are familiar to Poindexter, her twin sister Melissa is the most familiar.

Melissa, 24, joined the group around two years ago along with Michele, and plays a large role in cooking the food for the potluck.

Melissa is currently studying for her masters in Food and Nutrition at TWU, while Michele graduated from TWU with a Women and Gender Studies degree.

“I have the social justice aspect, and she has the food science, so we’re a good team,” Michele said, laughing.

When asked about reactions to the group by vegans and non-vegans, Poindexter said that negative reactions are to be expected with this topic, but she is hopeful overall.

“We do get some pushback,” she said. “The vegan community thinks we’re very passive with our tactics. But there’s pushback with everything until people take back the veil of ignorance. That’s why we like to have conversations with people instead of yelling at them.”

Poindexter said that all are welcome at the potlucks, vegan or not, and empty-handed or not. To her, the potluck is a way for people to pull up a chair and discuss big issues. She said that there are many issues to discuss in the world, and these events give that opportunity to discuss more than animal rights activism.

“There’s a tunnel vision with activism where you’re trying to focus so hard on single issues, and we try to bring people from different walks of life to have conversations with,” Poindexter said.

Photos by Kayla Henson.

Header design by Kylie Phillips.