History of MVVG

Manchester and its environs within the UK is the home of the modern western vegetarian movement. It was in Salford in 1808 that the Reverend Cowherd formed The Bible Christian Church, which amongst other things believed in a meat-free diet. This was one of the groups that would contribute to the formation of The Vegetarian Society in 1847. This would find a home in nearby Altrincham and The Vegetarian Society – or VegSoc as it's informally known – remains there to this day. 

Manchester Vegetarian and Vegan Group (MVVG) isn't quite as old, however, and its history parallels the rise in popularity of the Internet in everyday life. 

1999 – SMVeg and ManVeg
The 1990s saw a resurgent interest in vegetarianism and in late 1999 South Manchester Vegetarians (SManVeg) was created as an email group to provide support and information for vegetarians and vegans in the south Manchester area. 

An email group is a system wherein one person emails a single address and the message is sent to all members. In this way discussions can be had and knowledge shared – which was vitally useful at a time where vegetarianism and veganism in particular were barely understood by the general public. People shared where food could be bought In Manchester, or restaurants that offered vegetarian food, along with things like favourite recipes. 

There had been other local vegetarian groups in Manchester, including a popular group in the 1970s and 80s, but no other groups were active at the time.

After a handful of haphazard social meet-up attempts SMVeg held its first fully organised and well-attended real-life meeting in January 2001 at the Vegetarian Society headquarters in Altrincham. It was at this meeting it was decided to change the name to ManVeg, to cover all of (Greater) Manchester. 

From this point onwards the group became increasingly active, with social meet-ups most months and, as mentioned, a busy email group. In fact, ManVeg would grow to become one of the largest local vegetarian/vegan groups in the UK. Long-lasting friendships and relationships were formed and, yes, there were even marriages between some members!

2004 – Manchester Vegan Society (MVS)
In November 2004 several vegan ManVeg members formed Manchester Vegan Society (MVS), with the creation of its own email list and its own social meet-ups. ManVeg continued as before. 

2006 – Manchester Vegetarian and Vegan Society (MVVG)
Manchester Vegetarian and Vegan Society was formed in 2006, again with a fresh email group and its own social meet-ups, including special events such as summer picnics and Xmas meals. Most members of ManVeg moved across to this new group and ManVeg became essentially dormant.

Meanwhile, Facebook became incredibly popular and in 2009 the MVVG Facebook page was created. This would grow to include five and a half thousand members at the time of writing in early 2017, making MMVG one of the largest UK local veggie/vegan groups by this measure alone. The Facebook page has overtaken the email group as the main way for Mancunian vegetarians and vegans to communicate, with particular reference to the enthusiastic vegan/plant-based diet movement. Many messages share information about Manchester's explosive vegan scene, which is arguably the best in the UK.