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Laura Tobar mixes around the homemade rice and salsa. Conscience Ohio hosts a vegan cooking workshop at UCM every Tuesday at 7pm. Every week there is a different style of food made from scratch. On Tuesday September 3rd the style was mexican.

Workshop offers vegan meal for all diets

Fall brings with it some highly anticipated fare such as the pumpkin latté, apple cider and, for some Athens’ residents, vegan cooking.

Each week, Ohio University students and Athens residents gather in the basement of United Campus Ministry, 18 N. College St., to prepare and share a vegan meal.

The Vegan Cooking Workshop, or VCW, begins with meal preparation each Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. The meal is served at about 9 p.m.

The food used in the VCW is purchased using contributions from the volunteers — usually about $3 per meal — and some funding from the Student Activities Commission. The menu can include anything from Tofurkey to spiced cake.

While the meals prepared at the VCW are all strictly vegan, Benjamin Bushwick, a junior studying psychology, stressed that the attendees are not pushing a vegan lifestyle.

“We want to include everyone who wants to be included: meat eaters, vegans, restricted diets based on religion or allergies, etc.,” Bushwick said. “I mean, you don't have to be an Italian to eat at an Italian restaurant.”

Though the workshops do not serve only vegans, Bushwick said that the healthy effects of a vegan meal are something many should experience.

“Eating all meat or all veggies is not healthy,” Bushwick said. “I wish well for all of the prideful meat eaters out there; however, health sciences tell us excessive meat is bad for us in many ways.”

The weekly workshops might not endorse veganism, but they can appeal to those who have already pursued a vegan lifestyle.

“It is definitely hard to find vegan food on campus,” said Liz Newcomb, a sophomore studying history and art history. “As a vegetarian, it is hard enough to find food at the markets I can eat, let alone food that is also vegan-friendly. Though it is difficult being vegan at OU, I think it is definitely possible.”

The opportunity to eat a healthy meal might draw some to the VCWs, but Halie Cousineau, a recent OU grad who studied photojournalism and one organizer of the workshops, stresses that there is more than meets the eye or stomach at the workshops.

“I hope people get what I get out of it: love, happiness, health and an awareness on their actions and how their actions have major reactions,” Cousineau said. “I hope people want to help, care, serve and be healthy after coming to VCW, and I hope they walk away with a smile and a full stomach every time.”

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