This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page. (Learn how and when to remove these template messages) This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "American Vegan Society" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (August 2012) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) This article's tone or style may not reflect the encyclopedic tone used on Wikipedia. See Wikipedia's guide to writing better articles for suggestions. (May 2011) (Learn how and when to remove this template message) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
American Vegan Society
Formation1960; 61 years ago (1960)
FounderH. Jay Dinshah
TypeNonprofit organization
Legal status501(c)(3)
PurposePromotion of veganism
 United States

The American Vegan Society (AVS) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that promotes veganism in the United States. It was founded in 1960 by H. Jay Dinshah.[1][2] The date of the earlier The Vegan Society (UK)'s founding, November 1, is now celebrated annually as World Vegan Day.


The organization publishes American Vegan quarterly magazine, which is sent to members of the society (earlier issues are published on the website), and books about veganism (since 1964). The organization educates about a vegan diet.[3] It sponsors Dynamic Harmlessness Day annually on November 2, the birthday of the late H. Jay Dinshah, cofounder of the American Vegan Society. It has YouTube channel "Powerful Vegan Messages" and "American Vegan Society." It administers the AVS Speakers Bureau (18 popular vegan speakers from throughout the United States) and vegan conferences (the first annual event was held in 1960; bylaws require an annual vegan conference). The AVS administers cooking classes, gourmet vegan dinners by culinary students, encouraging culinary students to learn vegan cooking by hosting events with only vegan food, and other food events.[4][5]

Currently this is four AVS-coordinated and hosted events each year; the template for these events is used increasingly throughout America. Outreach at public events (vegan books, vegan literature, and speaking about veganism). Other support for direct inquiries, consulting for vegan community outreach. It collects, aggregates, and publishes a comprehensive list of vegan-oriented VegFests around the United States.[6] Prior to broad and widely-accessible search capabilities of the Internet, the American Vegan Society published networking and business resources which supported vegan lifestyle.


In 1960, 26 year-old H. Jay Dinshah founded the American Vegan Society. Later that year Dinshah married the English-born Freya Smith.[7] Freya, whose parents were active in The Vegan Society (of England), contributed to the early growth of the American Vegan Society and is president of the American Vegan Society today. The American Vegan Society is headquartered at Malaga, New Jersey, on a parcel of land which is called "SunCrest", or "the SunCrest Educreational Center." During Dinshah's life, the American Vegan Society was characterized by vegan publishing and outreach, annual vegan conferences, vegan archiving, spiritual inspiration, providing people with an experience of vegan living, vegan food-preparation demonstrations, maintenance of a small veganic garden, and extensive networking. Dinshah served the American Vegan Society as its president and as editor of its publication, Ahimsa magazine (1960–2000).[citation needed] In 2000, Dinshah died of a heart attack at age 66, after a life of promoting veganism.[citation needed]

In 1974, the organization did help found the North American Vegetarian Society in so to host the 1975 World Vegetarian Congress in the United States for the first time, which was held in Orono, Maine.[8]

Smithsonian Magazine in 2011 did write: "Like its predecessors, the vegan society connects a meat-free diet to a number of other causes, including moral and environmental considerations. Among the reasons for veganism the group’s website lists are: health; “an equitable, ethical relationship between human and other living creatures”; “spiritual development”; and “practical solutions to the population explosion.”[9]

Ahimsa magazine was a quarterly publication that explored compassionate living ("Ahimsa" meaning "dynamic harmlessness") as a philosophy, practical aspects of vegan living, and personal and cultural resources for vegans. Ahimsa included vegan menus and recipes, and news about food. The American Vegan Society continues to publish a quarterly periodical, now titled American Vegan, with the motto "Ahimsa lights the way." The American Vegan Society is now led and managed by its president, Freya Dinshah and advised by the AVS Council of Trustees, all of whom are vegans, and operated by a team of staff and volunteers.[citation needed]

The American Vegan Society "promotes, supports, and explores a compassionate, healthful, and sustainaeble lifestyle, and is known for advocating for vegan foods.[10] The diet is plant-sourced, varied, and abundant. For ethical, health, environmental, and other reasons, (vegans) reject all animal products in food, clothing, and commodities, and the exploitation of animals for sport or entertainment. AVS is guided by the doctrines of Ahimsa (non-slaughter, non-violence) and Reverence for Life, and provides community and friendship to those following and learning about this way of living."[11]

Donald Watson in England (and possibly others) coined the term 'vegan' in 1944; it referred to an entirely plant-based diet (with or without spiritual or philosophical or ethical underpinnings).[12] American Vegan Society used the term vegan to mean dynamic harmlessness and successfully developed a broad social base of practicing vegans who committed themselves to that meaning and practice.

Catherine Nimmo and Rubin Abramowitz formed a vegan society in California (1948 to 1960)[citation needed], and they both joined the American Vegan Society when Dinshah founded it in 1960.[13]

American Vegan Society conventions

Annual Conferences were held since 1960.

Alternate conferences and conventions were held, largely in the northeastern US (New Jersey and New York) but also earlier in California, then later in California (Arcata), Colorado (Denver), Oregon (Portland), and Washington (Olympia), often sharing logistical responsibilities with local and regional vegetarian societies. For a number of years, beginning in 1989, convention proceedings were videotaped.[citation needed]

The Dinshahs conducted weekend workshops, cooking classes, and other educational programs at SunCrest in Malaga, as early as 1969, when their first building (headquarters) was donated.

In 1995, the AVS cohosted the 8th International Vegan Festival in San Diego California, with VUNA (Vegetarian Union of North America) and Vegans International (VI).

Incomplete List of American Vegan Society conventions:[15]

Some of these conferences were:

- Some annual conferences were in California during the 1960s

Additional Workshops[15]

See also


  1. ^ Fussell, B. H. (1978-06-11). "FOOD: MALAGA". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-03-05.
  2. ^ "About AVS - Founder". American Vegan Society. Retrieved 2020-08-24.
  3. ^ INDEPENDENT, KELLIE McKINNEY | FOR THE DAILY. "Facts about vegetarians and vegans". The Independent Online. Retrieved 2021-03-05.
  4. ^ Reports, From Staff. "Briefs: Chocolate fest, vegan dinner, shutterbugs, author talk, pensioners, HIV testing". The Daily Journal. Retrieved 2021-03-05.
  5. ^ Arnold, Kendra. "Where to get your vegan Thanksgiving dinner in New Jersey | Morristown Green". Retrieved 2021-03-05.
  6. ^ "VegFests in the USA". Archived from the original on 2018-07-17. Retrieved 2018-07-17.
  7. ^ American Vegan. 13 (3): 4. Fall 2013.CS1 maint: untitled periodical (link)
  8. ^ Kamila, Avery Yale (2020-08-16). "Vegan Kitchen: Exactly 45 years ago, Maine hosted a historic 2-week conference for vegetarians". Press Herald. Retrieved 2021-03-05.
  9. ^ Bramen, Lisa. "The Long Marriage of Vegetarianism and Social Activism". Smithsonian Magazine. Retrieved 2021-03-05.
  10. ^ Bromwich, Jonah Engel; Yar, Sanam (2019-07-25). "The Fake Meat War (Published 2019)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-03-05.
  11. ^ American Vegan. 13 (3): 33. Fall 2013.CS1 maint: untitled periodical (link)
  12. ^ Obituary of Donald Watson, who died at 95, by Karen Dawn, Thursday Dec 8th, 2005 6:50 PM
  13. ^ "History of American Vegan Society". Archived from the original on 2014-08-27. Retrieved 2014-01-04.
  14. ^ Dinshah, HJ (1973). Song of India.
  15. ^ a b "AVS Events". Archived from the original on 2012-10-18. Retrieved 2012-08-03.