HOW IT WORKS
Due to safety concerns regarding the COVID-19 global pandemic, VegFund advises against large in-person gatherings at this time. Applicants requesting funds for in-person gatherings must provide information about local COVID guidelines in your area.
Offering food samples to the public is a great way to change notions about plant-based foods and to show how delicious vegan food can be! Food Sampling grants support efforts to introduce people to plant-based foods and alternatives to meat, dairy, and eggs.
We strongly encourage you to start by reading the Grant Guidelines that apply to all grants and the Grant FAQs. Once you’ve reviewed the guidelines, follow these steps to plan and host a successful VegFund-supported food-sampling event.
- Choose your venue. Successful food-sampling events are often organized as part of a larger event, such as a festival or street fair, to attract a large number of samplers. If you’re hosting food sampling in a public space, you may be required to obtain a permit from one or more local agencies, such as your local health department or parks bureau. Be sure to choose a venue where you’ll reach mostly non-vegans.
- Select your food samples. We recommend choosing items that serve as good alternatives to animal products, such as plant-based “meats,” cheeses, milks, and baked goods. Here are some simple recipe ideas and a list of popular vegan food-sampling products to get you started. Serve bite-size samples to help us support as many events as possible (such as sandwiches cut into quarters, vegan meats on toothpicks, or vegan milks in Dixie cups).
- Include a call-to-action. Some samplers may be moved to take the next step toward exploring a vegan diet. Including a vegan pledge is a great way to help folks take action toward this goal. VegFund has a list of Recommended Veg Pledges, Challenges, and Starter Kits.
- Assemble a team. We recommend enlisting at least one other person to help set up your table, prepare and hand out food samples, answer questions from individuals, keep track of the number of individuals you reach, and clean up after the event.
Develop your budget. VegFund’s grant application requires that you provide a simple but detailed budget for your event. Your budget should include all related costs, such as ingredients, utensils and other materials, venue fees, marketing and publicity, printing, etc.
- Include educational literature. It’s a good idea to offer literature to everyone who receives a food sample as a take-away. Check out VegFund’s Recommended Literature for guidance.
- Publicize your food sampling. Focus on reaching non-vegan audiences. Check out our post How to Attract Non-Vegans to Your Events for further guidance.
- Review VegFund’s reporting requirements. VegFund grants are distributed as reimbursements after we receive your final project report. It’s important that you’re prepared to submit your grant report no more than 30 days after your event takes place in order to receive your grant payment. See “Reporting Guidelines” on the Grant Guidelines page.
- Print and place required signage (printable signs can be downloaded from Helpful Materials section below). Also, have the packaging with ingredient list available for any commercial food products you hand out. Signs include:
- Common Allergens sign
- VegFund sponsorship sign
- Measure your impact. Keep track of the number of individuals who receive food samples. Include a simple “call-to-action” that individuals can take, and preferably one you can track, such as signing up to receive emails or taking a vegan pledge. See Measuring the Success of Your Grant-Funded Activity.
- Receive your grant payment. Once your report has been approved, VegFund will distribute your grant payment electronically. If you’re based in the U.S., you will receive an invitation from Bill.com; if you are based outside the U.S., your grant will be sent via PayPal. For details, see the Payment Guidelines section under Grant Guidelines.
Follow these food-safety protocols to have a safe and well-planned event. Safe steps in food-handling, preparation, storing, and serving are essential to preventing food-borne illness.
Display these signs at your event to credit VegFund and to note that common food allergens may be present. VegFund requires display of the sponsorship and allergens signs for food-sampling events.
Use this simple checklist to help ensure you have everything covered for your food-sampling event.
When you’re engaged in vegan outreach, and someone expresses interest in taking the next step, have a call-to-action ready. Veg pledges motivate and guide people who wish to explore veganism further. Veg challenges appeal to people who like to step up their accountability.
Read about activists who tabled at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley’s annual fundraiser, the Doggie Dash, a fun run that attracts 1,000 participants. Their vegan breakfast samples sparked conversations with animal shelter supporters about making compassionate food choices to help all animals.