All posts by 3valleyvegns

A local group to support and encourage a compassionate, cruelty-free, vegan lifestyle. We hold cooking sessions, tasting sessions, information sessions on everything from cruelty-free moisturisers to leather-free walking boots; vegan textiles to the best dairy-free cheese for cheese sauce!

Vegan school meals: why should they be available for all and how can I help?

3 Valley Vegans is informing parents about campaigns to get vegan school meals on the menu for all school children. Some Calderdale schools are now providing vegan meals for those requesting it, but we believe vegan meals should be available for all, as an option, for the environment, health and the animals.

Why support vegan meals in schools?

There are many sources to consider which advocate or encourage plant-based diets for all ages:

  • Veganism is supported by the Human Rights Act 1998 Article 9 which protects personal beliefs including veganism. This has been reinforced in a 2020 legal case in which ethical veganism was confirmed as a protected belief under the 2010 Equality Act in the same way as religious beliefs. The case therefore removes any doubt that it is illegal to discriminate against vegans by treating them less favourably than others i.e. not catering for them with vegan meals that are as equally nutritious as those served to non-vegan pupils.  Also, there is a wealth of evidence that shows a vegan diet to be healthy, and to be preventative with diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes (see the China Study). Many children suffer from dairy intolerance, which may cause eczema, who for health reasons need to avoid dairy.
  • The World Health Organisation states processed meat is a group one carcinogen, and red meat which includes beef, lamb and pork as a group 2 carcinogen. In the WHO School Policy 2008 framework it states “A nutritious diet should meet the nutrient and energy needs of students and be based on a variety of foods originating mainly from plant-based sources.”
  • The British Dietetic Society recognise that a well-planned plant based diet is suitable for every age and lifestyle, and the NHS confirm this.

By providing a vegan option in schools, the government will be addressing human rights, environment, health (government guidelines encourage us to eat more fruit and veg, 5 a day, as recommended by WHO), and poverty (free school meals for vegan children).

What can I do as a parent?

ProVeg offer support to schools on how to increase the intake of vegetables, fruits and other plant-based foods.

The Vegan Society have a template letter which families can use when writing to schools. They also have letters for caterers and educators too.

Calderdale Council no longer provides any catering to schools.  Therefore, we suggest you write to individual schools, although some schools provide the catering for a number of others in the area and deliver prepared meals daily. Nevertheless, it may be worth referring to a Calderdale Council internal human resources policy, introduced recently in response to the climate emergency, that requires meals and catering at Council events to be plant-based by April 2021.  This is relevant since many school staff (not academies) still receive their salaries via the Council.

Did you know that it’s still mandatory for school caterers in England to serve meat, fish, and dairy? Sir Paul McCartney, MPs, and environmental, health, and other groups have asked the government to revise these guidelines so that schools have a choice in the matter. Add your name to the healthy children’s meals petition by PETA UK.

In summary, have a look at the template letter or better yet craft your own using the sources above. Write to your children’s school, or the one where their food is prepared and ask what they are doing to support you. Add your name to the healthy meals petition.

Image by Andrzej Rembowski from Pixabay

9 Aug: Socially distant picnic in Hebden Bridge

Come and join us for our annual pot luck picnic! This year we will of course be following government instructions and keeping a safe social distance throughout, and sadly not sharing food this time.

  • Sunday, 9th August at midday.
  • Calder Holmes Park, Hebden Bridge
  • Meet between the cafe and the path to the railway station (see photo).

As usual, everyone is welcome to come along, we just ask they you only bring vegan food or drink (thank you for respecting the wishes of our vegan members). Please bring your own cutlery and plate. We will probably be sitting on the ground, so you may wish to bring a portable seat or blanket.

If you want to come, please send us an email. Dogs are welcome too. If the weather is bad, we may have to cancel, check here or look out for an email if it comes to that.

See you there!

Featured image by Carroll Pierce, CC BY SA 2.0

Plant Based Health Professionals write open letter to UK government

On World Nutrition Day in May more than 200 NHS doctors and other health professionals wrote an open letter to NHS leaders and the UK Government urging them to make radical changes to the current unsustainable and unhealthy food system. The letter received considerable attention on social media and was also published in The Metro.

The letter was produced by Plant Based Health Professionals UK, a rapidly growing organisation of doctors and health professionals whose aims are:

  • to promote plant based nutrition for the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases
  • to education health professionals and the public on wholefood plant based nutrition and
  • to provide evidence-based recommendations for public policy on nutrition.

The letter stresses the need for rapid, nationwide changes to the obesogenic and unsustainable food environment in the UK, which has added to the UK’S COVID-19 death toll.

Three in four of the world’s new or emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic and are mainly transmitted through wildlife trade and factory farming. This combined with the increasing demand for cheap meat and dairy is contributing to environmental degradation and the rise of antibiotic resistance. The letter also stresses that 90% of global wild fish stocks have been over-fished or fished at capacity and farmed fish are contaminated with antibiotics and chemicals that pose a risk to human health.

Poor nutrition is of particular importance to communities of lower socio-economic means and is disproportionately affecting minority ethnic communities which makes them particularly vulnerable to disease.

The letter proposes changes such as the banning of subsidies and introduction of taxes for junk food, soft drinks and animal farming; banning of advertising which increases the consumption of unhealthy foods and importantly the introduction of subsidies to move towards a predominantly whole food plant based diet in order to improve human and planetary health.

The full letter is available to read at Plant-Based Health Professionals UK and you can see a video of the doctors talking about the urgent need for change.

17 July: 3VV Online Party

You are invited to our online chat about cooking, growing or eating a healthy vegan lifestyle especially during COVID-19.

Tell us:

  • How inventive you’ve needed to be in your cooking
  • Have you tried any new recipes you’d like to share? 
  • Have you planted anything new in your growing space? 
  • What are you most looking forward to (from a vegan perspective)? 

If you have any thoughts on these (or not!), please join us for our Online Party:

  • Friday, 17 July from 8pm
  • Online using Zoom Video Conferencing and streaming to Facebook
  • Free (using your computer or phone and internet connection)

To register and receive the meeting ID and password, please email us info@3valleyvegns.org.uk or find us on Facebook Live.

Worth Valley Vegans: a new group starts up nearby

Guest blog post by Anne Taylor

This is a group to bring together people in the Worth Valley and Keighley area, who care about animals, the environment, and health, to share ideas and information, to support others in adopting a vegan lifestyle and to campaign to end all animal cruelty.

My plan in forming this group is to be able to put forward information to members of the public about the connection between food and lifestyle choices, and animal cruelty, environmental damage, and health. This has become even more urgent since the coronavirus pandemic. Although believed to have been started by the ill treatment of animals in a wet market in China, many people are not aware of the links with industrial animal farming, where animals kept in filthy and cramped conditions have become a breeding ground for deadly diseases, including swine and avian flu, meaning the next pandemic could be just around the corner. The only way to prevent this is for large numbers of people to stop eating meat.

Members of the group or anyone who wishes to join is welcome to share ideas for how to spread this message, whether that is by street campaigning, writing to MPs, newspapers, or linking with other likeminded groups, all ideas appreciated

If anyone wishes to contact me for more information please email Anne Taylor at worthvalleyvegans@gmail.com or go to their Facebook group.

Ecotricity, get a voucher for switching to a vegan energy supply

Vegan Life Magazine writes:

“We’re all more conscious than ever about the impact our buying choices have on the planet. You check a menu for a vegan options, you only buy cruelty-free cosmetics and clothing. But have you checked the ingredients in your energy supply?

“Millions of British homes are powered by electricity and gas made from animals or their by-products. They can come from factory farming, which means animal slurry and even body parts. Our friends at Ecotricity are the world’s only officially vegan energy company and their energy is only generated from renewable sources like the wind, sun and sea. They’ll make sure you’re not supporting the animal industry with your energy bills. 

“We think you’ve got a right to know how your energy is made, so you can choose a supplier that fits your principles. Here’s everything you need to know about vegan energy, and how to switch to an animal-free supplier.

Vegan Life Magazine have an offer: Switch to Ecotricity and you’ll receive a free £50 voucher to spend at The Vegan Kind Supermarket. Terms and conditions apply.

Please note, 3 Valley Vegans has not been approached by anyone, we are reporting a deal which we found and think our readers will enjoy.