The world’s first vegan football club

The world’s first vegan football club

My name is Dale Vince and I am the chairman of
Forest Green Rovers. We may be the world’s only vegan football club and we all like to
wish you happy World Vegan Month. We’ve got involved in the club in 2010, the club was
struggling financially and football-wise, facing relegation and bankruptcy. We thought
that we could save the club, which would be a good thing to do for the local community,
but at the same time we could take our message around sustainability to a completely new
audience. Particularly, what we’ve found is a real impact from the vegan message. We campaign
on the issues of energy, transport and food. These are three big things causing climate
change and environment depletion and that kind of stuff. But it’s the food changes that
we’ve made at the club that have made the biggest impact. It started back in 2010 when
we took red meat off the menu, as soon as I saw it I said “We can’t be doing that”. We
got quite a kickback I would say from a small number of people that thought they were being
dictated to and we said “Well, that’s not what’s happening, we’re just choosing the
menu that we set here at the club” and we also communicated as to why we were doing
it and we said “Come on a journey with us, a game of football is once a fortnight for
a couple of hours, don’t come here and eat normal food, your normal food, come and try
something different.” And we went out of our way to put on some great food, we took our
fans on a journey from there. Eventually to veganism, which is two years ago, I think, game day today. My name is Em Franklin, I’m the head chef at Forest Green Rovers and I’d like to wish
everybody a very happy World Vegan Day. It’s really empowering for people to see what can
be done and actually to crush the myth that they’ve got, their preconceptions, our preconceptions
about what vegan food is. And have it demonstrated, in front of them, colourfully. It’s funny
people think it will be difficult because they think that I’m missing ingredients but
actually I’m just cooking very good food with very good ingredients. It’s not that you can’t
cook if you’re not using meat or dairy, I’m just cooking. Lots of people have been pleasantly
surprised, and surprised being the word actually, there’s been a lot of negative preconceptions
about what vegan food might be and then if I hear “It’s alright actually” or people say “Oh it tastes
like the real thing”. As a race, as a human race, it is so good for us and we have rather marginalised it and to reclaim that as an option in cooking, it has been tremendous. I’ve been vegetarian, vegan, for nearly 4 years. Started with vegetarian and back then,
when you told someone you’re a vegetarian, you’d often just get an aggressive response actually. But it’s become really commonplace these days to be vegetarian or vegan I would say, supermarkets, restaurants cater fantastically for meat-free and dairy-free diets, which
is fantastic. There’s a lot of scientific evidence and there’s a lot of anecdotal evidence
as well now from people. But we’re vegans because we know that, don’t we? You know we
feel better when we only eat plants.

Comments (5)

  1. 😮WOW! 😀LOVE IT! 😃 Not talking about soccer I wonder how can we here in America ever hav a vegan football club when the footballs are made from animal skins? AND they serve animal food at the football vendors AND THEIR COMMERCIALS ARE MOSTLY ANIMAL FOOD???? 😣😢😭

  2. Yo I’m vegan and I’m good at soccer, let me tryout for that club

  3. I start footie for the vegan food

  4. I really enjoyed my visit to FGR earlier this year, it was great to be catered for so well. Its good to see the club doing well in League 2, I hope they stay up this season and push on into League 1.

  5. This is great news and a totally new audience. I think it’s wonderful. Hopefully will get into 1st Division !!!

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