Veganism is the great disruptor–disrupting the restaurant industry, food industry, clothing, make-up, you name it. According to Forbes, the plant-based food industry exceeded $3 billion in 2017, and plant-based dairy alternatives are expected to make up 40% of the combined market of dairy and dairy alternative beverages by 2021. Humanity is insisting that businesses make better choices, and businesses are listening.
Yet while there has never been a better time to go vegan (even globally-recognized celebrities like Miley Cyrus, Serena Williams, and James Cameron are touting the ethical, environmental, and health reasons for eschewing animal products), many people still struggle to stay with it, with over 84% returning to an omnivorous diet within the first year. Enter the New Leaf Vegan Mentor Program: a free matching service that pairs would-be vegans with an experienced mentor, anywhere in the nation.
After a successful pilot program with over 50 mentor/mentee matches, New Leaf is rolling out personalized vegan mentor matching in a convenient website and cell phone app. Program manager Elana Kirshenbaum explains the program’s ethos: “People want to become vegan but don’t know where to start, what to eat, how to shop, or meet other vegans. New Leaf’s unique approach provides ample support so folks can be successful long-term. The program is a game-changer for a more just and compassionate world.”
The educational team at Catskill Animal Sanctuary has been testing and refining technology and strategies to create a national network of lifelong vegans who have the support and resources they need to stick with a lifestyle that has transformational benefits for animals, the planet, and human health.
But New Leaf isn’t just a web-based program with a convenient mobile app. On the other side of each match is a highly trained volunteer who can help enrollees with shopping, meal prep, dining out, nutrition, finding community, social support and much more. The support is indefinite— as long as mentees need assistance, New Leaf will keep them connected with a mentor.
As one participant put it: “I am so lucky to have such kind support, and it has motivated me to get better educated… my mentor is always there as I take steps to change old habits, dismantling them step by step.”
With ambitious goals of making 200,000 matches in the first three years, and a 60% retention rate, New Leaf plans to expand and include access to nutritionists, webinars, downloadable printouts and videos that make being vegan simple and accessible.
For information about joining New Leaf, go to newleafvegans.org.
Featured image: graffiti on a wall urges people to go vegan. Image credit Babak Fakhamzadeh, CC BY-SA 3.0.