Boston Vegetarian Society

The Boston Vegetarian Society (BVS) is a non-profit educational organization based in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, with the purpose of promoting and supporting vegetarianism and veganism. It hosts monthly speaking events and an annual vegetarian food festival in the fall.[5]

Boston Vegetarian Society
Founded1986 (1986)
TypeEducational charity
Registration no.043082813[3]
FocusVeganism, vegetarianism
  • P.O. Box 38-1071 Cambridge, MA 02238
Area served
Eastern Massachusetts
ServicesEducational events and literature supporting vegan diets
MethodPopular education
[Figure needed]
As of September 2012 $52,434[1][2][4]
EndowmentAs of September 2012 $127,324[1][4]
[Figure needed]
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Affiliate member of North American Vegetarian Society (NAVS), Vegetarian Union of North America (VUNA), and International Vegetarian Union (IVU)

History and purpose

The Boston Vegetarian Society began in 1986. The first activities were centered around holding vegan potlucks in a church basement during the late 1980s.[6] The Society has seen a steady rise in membership and attendance ever since.[6] In 1998, it was incorporated in Massachusetts as an educational non-profit.[3] In July 1998, it was granted 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status by the IRS.[1][2]

The BVS provides info on events and related organizations, hosts the annual Boston Vegetarian Food Festival (BVFF), holds cooking classes, and promotes vegetarianism through mass transit advertising, outreach at fairs and festivals, and monthly free educational seminars.[7][4] Their New Year's banquet and vegan cooking classes were reported to be particularly popular.[8] BVS provides education, encouragement, and community support for vegetarians.[9] The BVS also participates in the annual Earth Day Festival of Boston University.[10]

Boston Vegetarian Food Festival

Since 1996, the Boston Vegetarian Society has annually hosted the Boston Vegetarian Food Festival (BVFF) in October or November.[11][12][13][14][15]

It was first held on May 5, 1996, at MIT's Howard W. Johnson Athletics Center and was hosted by the MIT Vegetarian Support Group (VSG) (as of 2010 renamed MIT Vegetarian Group) and the Vegetarian Resource Group.[16] Notable speakers included Dr. Charles R. Attwood.[17][18][19] In addition, in October of that year, they held a World Vegetarian Day celebration outdoors on the Boston Common. This is believed by North American vegetarians to be the first modern vegetarian food festival held in the United States, although the Toronto Vegetarian Food Fair had been held annually since 1985.

The second BVFF was held at Bunker Hill Community College on October 26, 1997.[20][21] This combined as one event their indoor vegetarian food festival and the sense of the World Vegetarian Day event, since the combined event would be perpetually held around October or November.

Starting with the third annual festival on October 3, 1998, the BVFF has been held at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in the Roxbury Crossing section of Boston, across the street from Roxbury Community College.[22] Over the years, attendance grew so much that the festival was expanded from one day to two days in 2009; for the 2016 festival, organizers expected an attendance between 15,000 and 20,000.[23] Each year's roster of speakers is almost entirely new; Dr. Michael Greger has been the only speaker who returns nearly each year, typically on or around his birthday.

Several different branding logos have been used since 1996 for subway, bus, newspaper, and other advertising; the current committee is seeking a single brand for the increasingly popular event. The winning logos used on each year's festival's merchandise have emerged variably from college students and professional graphic artists.

See also


  1. "NCCS Organization Profile - Boston Vegetarian Society". Archived from the original on 2014-03-25. Retrieved 2013-09-01.
  2. "Nonprofit Organization Lookup". Retrieved 2013-09-01.
  3. "Summary for: BOSTON VEGETARIAN SOCIETY, INC". William Francis Galvin, Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 1988-10-20. Retrieved 2013-09-01.
  4. "990-EZ Short Form Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax for Boston Vegetarian Society" (PDF). Internal Revenue Service, Dept. of the Treasury. Retrieved 2013-09-01.
  5. Arnett, Dugan (July 7, 2016). "Forget religion and politics. Dating's newest deal-breaker? Diet". The Boston Globe. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  6. Brown, Nell Porter (March–April 2017). "Animal-Free Dining: Vegetarian options sprout up throughout Greater Boston". Harvard Magazine. Vol. 119, no. 4. Harvard University. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  7. Sharpe, Sonja A. (September 26, 2001). "RESTAURANT REVIEW: A Vegetarian's Guide to the MIT Area". The Tech. Vol. 121, no. 46. Retrieved August 9, 2020.
  8. First, Devra (January 6, 2010). "Boston area are becoming a mecca for vegetarian, vegan, and raw food restaurants". Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  9. "Boston Vegetarian Society - Mission Statement". VegGuide.Org. Retrieved July 23, 2012.
  10. Bates, Jennifer (April 21, 2016). "BU Celebrates Earth Day 2016". BU Today. Boston University. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  11. Jeffreys, Katie (September 10, 1999). "Cheese: The vegetarian's friend in Europe". The Essential Vegetarian. The Tech. Vol. 119, no. 40. Retrieved August 9, 2020.
  12. Jeffreys, Katharyn (October 3, 2000). "The Essential Vegetarian". Food Review. The Tech. Vol. 120, no. 47. Retrieved August 9, 2020.
  13. "Boston Vegetarian Food Festival at Reggie Lewis Athletic Center". 2010-10-30. Retrieved 2012-07-23.
  14. "BOSTON VEGETARIAN FOOD FEST: Don't drink the Kombucha". DigBoston. 2010-10-26. Archived from the original on 2011-11-16. Retrieved 2012-07-23.
  15. Weiss, Rachel (2011-10-27). "Vegetarian Food Festival in Roxbury growing in popularity". Archived from the original on 2011-10-30. Retrieved 2012-07-23.
  16. "The Internet site of the First Annual Boston Vegetarian Food Festival!". MIT Vegetarian Support Group. Retrieved 9 August 2020.
  17. "Events of the Day: Speakers and Food Demos". MIT Vegetarian Support Group. Retrieved 9 August 2020.
  18. "About Dr. Attwood". VegSource. Retrieved 9 August 2020. Recent tours and keynote speaking engagements include...The Boston Vegetarian Food Festival...
  19. The Growing World of Veg Festivals. VegNews, Brooke Still, August 17, 2010
  20. "Calendar". Vegetarian Times. No. 242. October 1997. p. 118 via EBSCOhost. Boston Vegetarian Food Festival at Bunker Hill Community College: October 2,11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Boston, Mass. For the second year, Beantown plays host to its free Boston Vegetarian Food Festival. The festival will feature free food samples, natural food store exhibits, produce exhibits, restaurant food court, cooking demonstrations and expert speakers, including John McDougall, M.D., and Suzanne Havala, R.D., M.S.
  21. "Corrections". Vegetarian Times. No. 244. December 1997. p. 8. ProQuest 205282788. We incorrectly listed the date of The Boston Vegetarian Food Festival as October 2, 1997. The actual date was October 26.
  22. Marandino, Cristin (October 1998). "Bulletin board". Vegetarian Times. No. 254. p. 23. ProQuest 205290778. The Boston Vegetarian Society is hosting its Third Annual Boston Vegetarian Food Festival on October 3, from 10a.m. to 6 p.m. Check out the free veggie samplings, nutrition workshops, cooking demos and children's activities. Admission and parking are free. Located at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center, 1350 Tremont St., Boston.
  23. Kamila, Avery Yale (May 25, 2016). "Surge in food festivals for plant eaters reflects lifestyle's growth". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
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