Boston Vegetarian Society

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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
MethodPopular Education
[Figure needed]
As of September 2012 $52,434[1][2][4]
EndowmentAs of September 2012 $127,324[1][4]
[Figure needed]
[Figure needed]
Affiliate member of
North American Vegetarian Society (NAVS),
Vegetarian Union of North America (VUNA), and
International Vegetarian Union (IVU)

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

History and purpose[edit]

The Boston Vegetarian Society began in 1986. The first activities were centered around holding potlucks in a church basement in 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 "seeks to make a better world for people, animals, and the earth through advancing a healthful vegetarian diet and a compassionate ethic."[citation needed] 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 (BVFF)[edit]

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 the Howard W. Johnson Athletics Center at MIT because MIT graduate students affiliated with the MIT Vegetarian Support Group (VSG) (as of 2010 renamed MIT Vegetarian Group) provided a substantial proportion of the initial organizing effort.[16][17][18][19][citation needed] 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 American Vegan Society reported in January 2018 that now "Over 120 VegFests in the United States are planned for 2018", and most are purely vegan food festivals (see chart).[20]

The second BVFF, in October 1997, was held at Bunker Hill Community College.[citation needed] This combined as one combined 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.

Since 1998,[21][22] it 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. Over the course of years, attendance grew so much that the festival was expanded from one day to two days in 2009.[23] In October 2016, between 15,000 and 20,000 were estimated to attend the festival.[23] The 2017 BVFF was held October 21 and 22, and the 2018 BVFF will be held October 19 and 20.[24] Dr. Michael Greger is the only speaker who returns 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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "NCCS Organization Profile - Boston Vegetarian Society". Retrieved 2013-09-01.
  2. ^ a b c "Nonprofit Organization Lookup". Retrieved 2013-09-01.
  3. ^ a b "Summary for: BOSTON VEGETARIAN SOCIETY, INC". William Francis Galvin, Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 1988-10-20. Retrieved 2013-09-01.
  4. ^ a b c "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. ^ Dugan Arnett (July 7, 2016). "Forget religion and politics. Dating's newest deal-breaker? Diet". The Boston Globe. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  6. ^ a b Nell Porter Brown (March 2017). "Animal-Free Dining. Vegetarian options sprout up throughout Greater Boston". Harvard Magazine. Harvard University. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  7. ^ "RESTAURANT REVIEW: A Vegetarian's Guide to the MIT Area - A Rundown of MIT Eateries, Local Grocery Stores, and Restaurants". 2001-09-26. Retrieved 2012-07-23. The Boston Vegetarian Society is a prime example of this. Their web site, found at <>, is a great place to find out what vegetarian-related events are going on in Boston (for example, the Boston Vegetarian Food Festival will be held on October 13th this year). The site also hosts a long list of links to other vegetarian/vegan-related web sites.
  8. ^ Devra First (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 2012-07-23.
  10. ^ Jennifer Bates (April 21, 2016). "BU Celebrates Earth Day 2016". BU Today. Boston University. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  11. ^ "THE ESSENTIAL VEGETARIAN: Cheese: The vegetarian's friend in Europe - The Tech". 1999-09-10. Retrieved 2012-07-23.
  12. ^ "FOOD REVIEW: The Essential Vegetarian - The Tech". 2000-10-03. Retrieved 2012-07-23.
  13. ^ "Boston Vegetarian Food Festival at Reggie Lewis Athletic Center - The Boston Globe". 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. ^ "About Dr. Attwood" (c. 1996) notes that (the late) Dr. Charles Attwood had spoken at the Boston Vegetarian Food Festival 'recently' - it was 1996 - the first year of BVFF.
  17. ^ VRG-NEWS: The Vegetarian Resource Group Newsletter, John L. Cunningham ( Editor), Volume 7, Issue 4, August 2003
  18. ^ 1997 BVFF (2nd BVFF) Program of Speakers, hosted on MIT website
  19. ^ The Growing World of Veg Festivals. VegNews, Brooke Still, August 17, 2010
  20. ^ VegFests, American Vegan Society E-Newsletter, January 20, 1018, American Vegan Society, accessed January 20, 2018
  21. ^ MIT-hosted archival page for 2000 BVFF says that 1999 BVFF was held at RLTAC nd that the 2000 BVFF is the 4th BVFF
  22. ^ 1998 BVFF - 2nd BVFF - List of Sponsors, such a long list that it could not be held in the Johnson Ice Rink at MIT, though it could have been held in Bunker Hill Community College (1997), where the 1998 BVFF - 2nd BVFF - was spread out over four or five of its buildings - on a Saturday
  23. ^ a b Avery Yale Kamila (May 25, 2016). "Surge in food festivals for plant eaters reflects lifestyle's growth". Portland Press Herald. Retrieved January 19, 2018.
  24. ^ Boston Vegetarian Food Festival (BVFF)

External links[edit]