The San Francisco Vegetarian Society (SFVS) is a non-profit organization that has been working in the Bay Area for over 40 years promoting a vegetarian diet as a healthful and humane way of life.
The Society is run entirely by volunteers. We always appreciate help, whether it is available once in a while or on an ongoing basis. You can volunteer to help with a variety of activities, from coordinating our programs to helping at our events. If you are interested in getting involved, please contact us.
The Society hosts events throughout the year such as vegetarian potlucks, picnics, dining out and lectures. Monthly meetings held most months. Please check our hotline, 415-273-5481 for details.
A BRIEF HISTORY
If the British didn't coin the word 'vegetarian' in 1862, we might be known as the 'San Francisco Pythagorian Society', as people who followed a plant based diet were once known as 'Pythagorians'.
"Vegetarians Unite!" A small classified ad starting with these words appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle in October 1968. It invited interested people to a meeting at the home of Fred and Hilda Baldus. Out of that meeting of 30 people, the San Francisco Vegetarian Society was born.
In 1970, Dixie Mahy proposed creating a newsletter to promote the Society and its goals: primarily, to promote the education of a vegetarian diet, and the "Vegetarian Calendar" was born. This idea was adopted. Coincidentally, Dixie was immediately voted vice president.
Long-time member (and patent attorney) Dave Pressman initiated the Society's discount program as a way to reward members.
In 1974, SFVS president Dixie Mahy joined 2000 people at the first North American-based World Congress of the IVU - International Vegetarian Union. This was held in Orono, Maine. Jay Dinshah, who also founded the American Vegan Society, had founded NAVS, the North American Vegetarian Society, in advance of the World Congress expressly to host it. This Congress kicked off the organized vegetarian movement in the U.S., and groups were formed in Detroit, Los Angeles, New York and Maryland.
Dixie Mahy and Madge Darnielle of VSDC--Vegetarian Society of DC--were sharing the observation that the vegetarian movement needed something akin to the environmental movement's Earth Day. A day to celebrate vegetarianism. World Vegetarian Day!
Over the years SFVS has hosted most movers and shakers in the movement, including John Robbins, John McDougall, Dean Ornish, Howard Lyman, Ann Wigmore, Helen and Scott Nearing, Bill Shurtleff, and many others. Many speakers had their first experience in front of a vegetarian audience with SFVS.
Now, the words vegetarian and vegan are now known popularly, and many 'mixed' restaurants are familiar with the terms. Professionals from many fields promote the benefits of a vegetarian diet, versus the old warnings of dire consequences. We have much to celebrate. Join us!
[Written by Dixie Mahy and Norma Wallace]
History of World Vegetarian Day Celebrations in the San Francisco Bay Area
1988 Stanford University campus, coordinator Lynn Gale, Vegetarian Foundation
1989 Stanford University campus, coordinator Lynn Gale, Vegetarian Foundation
1990 San Francisco State University campus, coordinator Dixie Mahy, SFVS
1991 UC Berkeley campus, coordinator Norma Wallace
1992 Lake Elizabeth, coordinator Tina Dupart
1993 San Jose
1994 Marin Humane Society, coordinator Patti Breitman, Vegetarians in Marin
1995 Berkeley, coordinator Marci Levine
1996 Golden Gate Park, SF, coordinators Norma Wallace and Brian
1999 San Francisco Dining Out, Das Deveraj, Veg Restaurant Trek
2000 Fort Mason, coordinator Dixie Mahy, SFVS
2001 Fort Mason, coordinator Dixie Mahy, SFVS
2002 Fort Mason, coordinator Dixie Mahy, SFVS
2003 Golden Gate Park, coordinator Dixie Mahy, SFVS
2004 Golden Gate Park, coordinator Dixie Mahy, SFVS
2005 Golden Gate Park, coordinator Dixie Mahy, SFVS
2006 Golden Gate Park, coordinator Dixie Mahy, SFVS
2007 Golden Gate Park, coordinator Dixie Mahy, SFVS and IDA
2008 Golden Gate Park, coordinator Dixie Mahy, SFVS and IDA
2009 Golden Gate Park, coordinator Dixie Mahy, SFVS and IDA
2010 Golden Gate Park, coordinator Dixie Mahy, SFVS
2011 Golden Gate Park, coordinator Dixie Mahy, SFVS
2012 Golden Gate Park (hosting the 40th IVU Congress), coordinator Dixie Mahy, SFVS
[Compiled by Norma Wallace and Tony Martin]
IDA = In Defense of Animals [idausa.org]