This report has been contributed by Lacee Getter, a student from Mercer University’s Center for Collaborative Journalism.

In the last decade there's been substantial growth in the population of people transitioning into eating a plant-based diet. 

Now what is a plant-based or vegan diet? It's when someone does not consume meat, dairy, eggs or any form of animal byproducts into their diet.

Gigi Weaver, the founder of Macon Vegans, is on a mission to bring together local vegans as well as people interested in going vegan.

She started Macon Vegans Meetup, which will be happening every month, to help inform people on how to live a healthy plant-based lifestyle in Macon. 

“I started this group to not just to support local vegans, but our community as a whole. I want to bring those two things together and really make an impact in our community,” Weaver said.

Each meetup will be introducing a theme and discussion every month to help shed light on a topic that is relevant to veganism in Macon.

“I will be having our next meetup on the last Wednesday of February at Mulberry Market at Tattnall Square Park and that will be an opportunity for our group members to get to know some of our local farmers,” Weaver said. 

RELATED: Just Curious: What is the Mulberry Market?

The first meetup was held on January 30 at Southern Vegan Soul Cafe, which is located at the State’s Farmers Market on Eisenhower Parkway. 

Co-owner of Southern Vegan Soul Cafe, Jessica Mack, has been vegan for over seven years and has experienced many health benefits from the lifestyle.

“I used to weigh over 400 pounds and veganism has helped change me and my husband’s life. We’ve experienced immense health benefits from it,” Mack said.