As you know, many local and national businesses are closed or otherwise disrupted at the moment. We recommend you check with individual shops for their opening and availability, while following government advice to stay indoors except for essential permitted purposes. In addition, we would like to highlight a few places that, at the time of writing, were still open.
An amazing quarter of a million people took part in Veganuary 2019. January 2020 is set to see even more people trying vegan for a month, as we become ever-more aware of the benefits of following a vegan diet for animals, the environment and human health.
If you are thinking of going vegan, January is the perfect time to try. It’s easier than ever, and by taking part in Veganuary you’ll be joining thousands of others gaining support as part of an international community of like-minded people.
Chrissy Leyland from The Vegan Approach says,
“We are super-excited about Veganuary, as our mission is to help others to go, stay and enjoy being vegan. Our 10 minute video 6 steps to going vegan, shows you how to do this the easy way.”
The Vegan Approach’s experienced vegan volunteers include 3 Valley Vegans’ very own Elizabeth King, who delivers the 6 steps to going vegan talk at festivals around the north. After being awarded a university certificate in plant-based nutrition, Elizabeth is now also offering talks on vegan nutrition, where she will share her expert knowledge and passion on how to be a healthy vegan.
After years of experience of supporting others to go vegan, The Vegan Approach have devised these 6 steps showing you how to go vegan the easy way.
- Find your motivation – working out why you want to be vegan and researching the many benefits will keep you on track.
- Decide what to eat – there’s so much choice on a plant-based diet. To help you make the transition, The Vegan Approach give handy hints on menu ideas, recipes, food swaps and where to shop.
- Find out about nutrition – there are many benefits to a plant-based diet but you may be concerned about meeting your nutritional needs. Follow The Vegan Approach nutrition tips to make sure your diet is balanced.
- Find vegan friendly restaurants – you’ll soon find being vegan at home is easy, but may wonder where to eat out. The Vegan Approach guide will point you in the right direction.
- Veganise your life – during Veganuary you may just want to eat a plant-based diet, but once you have this sussed you might choose to follow a vegan lifestyle, avoiding animal products in clothing, cosmetics and household products.
- Think about friends and family – before starting your vegan journey you may think that the hardest part will be missing certain foods, such as cheese. However, people often discover that the most difficulties come from being vegan in a non-vegan world. Meeting other vegans can really help, and the great news is that 3 Valley Vegans are hosting an event in February for local Veganuary, where you can meet like-minded people and find out even more about how to go and stay vegan.
So that’s The Vegan Approach 6 steps in a nutshell. Visit www.theveganapproach.co.uk and follow them on social media for more tips on how to go vegan the easy way.
Good luck with your vegan journey and if you are already vegan please share their video and help us create thousands more vegans!
Words and photos by Myra James
7th October 2019 isn’t a day I’ll forget in a hurry. In the run-up to the Rebellion I was struggling to know what to do. I felt pretty sure I wasn’t up for camping in the street or being arrested. But how could I ignore this important movement, calling for the changes closest to my heart – a world in which animals are treated with respect and all of us are kept safe from the worst impacts of climate and ecosystem breakdown?
I decided to book a train ticket and get myself to London for the day. I feel privileged to have been part of the day that set up the first fruit and veg market at Smithfield. Will we one day see only plant products on sale in the famous old market? I hope so.
I arrived in London, travelling from West Yorkshire, in time to join the rebels gathering in Russell Square. There I met up with Sara and Kerri from Manchester Animal Rebellion – very happy to have found them in the large crowd there. I also bumped into someone wearing the same boots as me, from Will’s Vegan Shoes (other brands of vegan footwear are available)!
After a couple of short speeches, some practical advice and singing practice, we set off on our march to Smithfield Market. Along the way we sang and chanted while people in office buildings stopped work to watch and take photos.
As we approached the market I began to feel quite emotional. I wasn’t sure whether we were about to enter a place where we would be surrounded by meat, but that wasn’t the case. No meat was evident that afternoon. We took up our place in the arcade that runs through the building. Work began on setting up the market stalls, and later stocking them supplies of beautiful fruit and veg. Meanwhile at the other end, live music was played. It was an international event. I met people from Croatia and from Italy. There were some very young children there, a reminder of why we are doing this – to try to ensure a safe future for their generation.
I was so busy helping to pile vegetables on the market stalls that I missed the start of George Monbiot’s speech – I’m afraid I abandoned the task when I realised he was speaking. I’d heard him speak before and knew we could expect something special from him, and he didn’t disappoint. He spoke of the centuries and millennia of conditioning we have to unlearn in order to accept the necessity for a world which is not shaped by animal agriculture. From classical and renaissance literature through Romantic poetry to children’s books, we have grown up in a culture which presents the rural idyll as something to yearn for. The innocent picture of people and farm animals living in harmony. The truth of animal agriculture, we now all understand, is very different. Examples of the disastrous nature of livestock agriculture and fishing came thick and fast in a fact-filled and inspirational talk.
George reminded us of the damaging environmental impact of livestock, whether farmed indoors, or in free range systems. Run-off from free-range farming causes harmful algal bloom in rivers. Sheep farming uses twice as much land as the UK’s entire built environment while producing just 1% of the nation’s food. Meat products from local farms may well come from animals fed soya from Argentina. Blue Planet 2 alerted us to the horrifying impact of plastic in the oceans without pointing out that most of that plastic comes from the fishing industry.
We know about the Sixth Mass Extinction that we are in the midst of. George has renamed it the First Mass Extermination, because extinction sounds like something that just happens. What is happening now is something we have done.
Monbiot was followed by Dominic Dyer, CEO of the Badger Trust, who spoke passionately about the cruelty and obscene ineffectiveness of the badger cull.
Later came a talk by another icon of our movement, Chris Packham. I’m sad to say that I had left before he spoke but his talk, as well and George Monbiot’s and Dominic Dyer’s, can be found on Animal Rebellion’s Facebook page.
There was just one arrest during Animal Rebellion’s day at Smithfield Market – of the person who scaled the market building to fly the banner heralding the arrival of Smithfield Fruit and Vegetable Market. Although it all happened in a place where the bodies of innocent victims of the agriculture industry are taken for sale, it was nonetheless a joyful day, looking toward a better future.
Events became more sombre during the night, long after I had left, as the deliveries of meat began to arrive. A funeral procession was held in memory of the animals, and this can also be seen on the Facebook page.
My thoughts now, in the comfort of my Yorkshire home, is with the brave rebels who have taken up their positions at Westminster. The police have warned that anyone protesting other than in Trafalgar Square risk arrest, so it remains to be seen how long this rebellion will hold its ground.
With the news dominated by Brexit this vital act of rebellion for the future of our planet is not receiving the coverage it deserves but with right on our side we have to remain hopeful that people in power will hear and act in time.
Recently, we wrote about the UN’s special report on climate change. More specifically, the group responsible is called the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Today, we would like to share an encouraging excerpt:
“Consumption of healthy and sustainable diets presents major
opportunities for reducing GHG emissions from food systems and improving health outcomes (high confidence). Examples of healthy and sustainable diets are high in coarse grains, pulses, fruits and vegetables, and nuts and seeds; low in energy-intensive animal-sourced and discretionary foods (such as sugary beverages); and with a carbohydrate threshold.”
The best way to achieve this healthy and sustainable diet is adopt a partly or fully vegan lifestyle. 3 Valley Vegans helps people in the upper Calder valley with our continued events, newsletters, social media and web pages.
Source: IPCC SRCCL final government draft (chapter 5 food security, pages 5-6). Accessed 14 September 2019.
The food security challenge
The global food system is under pressure. Over the next 35 years, the growing global population will demand more food than has ever been produced in human history!
Few will have missed the recent news reports about the awful spate of fires burning down vast areas of the Amazon rainforest, the generator of 20% of the world’s oxygen and home to 10% of the world’s known biodiversity. However, the media were less willing to attribute the cause to anything more than the Trumpian antics of Brazil’s president, Jair Bolsonaro. What they rarely reported was that 91% of Amazonian land deforested since 1970 has been used for livestock (sic) pasture or that Brazil is the world’s largest beef exporter.
Brazil is also the world’s second largest producer of soybeans on land that has previously been used for cattle ranching. 90% of that crop is exported worldwide as animal feed for cattle, pigs and chickens and a third of all British soy imports are for that purpose. Your tofu and tempeh are not blameless in the Brazilian fires but meat and dairy consumption is many times worse, especially due to the inefficiency in feeding the soy to animals rather than to humans directly. More at Vegan Sustainability.
Even though few media outlets linked the Amazon fires to meat and dairy consumption, a recent YouGov poll of more than 2,000 people showed that over half of the British public believe that reducing meat consumption should be prioritised as a key way to slow down climate change. Reduction doesn’t mean elimination but at least this poll shows that people are making the link between meat and climate change even if Government ministers are less willing to advocate dietary change for the climate. Sadly, the poll also found that 37% of the population is unwilling to cut their meat intake at all. More from Edie.
Image: Amazon Fires seen from space. Credit: NASA Worldview.
The government is developing a new national food strategy for England and is now consulting with individuals, organisations and businesses. The strategy, which is due to be published in 2020, recognises that food production has a huge impact on the environment, human health and the economy. It acknowledges that the growth of the human population poses huge risks to the food and water supply and that there are new risks posed by anti-microbial resistance. All of these factors would be improved by a move to a sustainable plant-based food production system and this is your opportunity to influence the strategy.
Please comment and say why we should move to a sustainable plant-based food system in the UK. The deadline is Friday, 25 October. Comments are welcome from individuals or vegan businesses.
The strategy will cover the entire food chain, from field to fork: the production, marketing, processing, sale and purchase of food (for consumption in the home and out of it), and the consumer practices, resources and institutions involved in these processes.
Requirements from the government
The government wants a food system that:
- delivers safe, healthy, affordable food; regardless of where people live or how much they earn
- is robust in the face of future shocks
- restores and enhances the natural environment for the next generation in this country
- is built upon a resilient, sustainable and humane agriculture sector
- is a thriving contributor to our urban and rural economies, delivering well paid jobs and supporting innovative producers and manufacturers across the country
- delivers all this in an efficient and cost effective way
Points you may wish to make
Comments should be 1000 words or fewer. You might like to choose from the following points or make your own comments:
- The government has declared a climate emergency so now is the time to put this into action in this food strategy. Eating animal products has a huge environmental impact and it is clear that we will not be able to meet the Paris Agreement, and achieve net zero carbon emissions, unless as a nation we make a rapid move towards plant-based diets.
- The recent IPCC report on land use (2019) says that we must change the way we produce food and manage land. Agriculture and forestry produces almost a quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. With a growing population we cannot continue to use land in the same way and we are now very close to dangerous tipping points. Meat and dairy consumption will have to be cut and there needs to be a major shift to healthy and sustainable plant-based diets such as grains, pulses, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Plant-based foods require less land, less water, produce less pollution on land and in the sea, and produce far less greenhouse gases than animal-based foods.
- Oxford University research (Poore et al, 2018) found that adopting a plant-based diet is the “single biggest thing” individuals can do for the planet and EAT-Lancet, the latest international, peer-reviewed project of its kind, said that planetary boundaries and human health require a move towards plant-based diets.
- Fish consumption should be cut drastically in order to prevent the loss of ocean biodiversity, habitat degradation and to reduce pollution (WWF, 2015). Ocean fishing produces nearly half of all plastic debris in the oceans (Lebreton, 2018). Fish farming isn’t the answer: farmed fish are treated with large amounts of pesticides and antibiotics to treat diseases, particularly sea lice, which are rife in such overcrowded conditions, further exacerbating the problem of antibiotic resistance in humans. The farms pollute the surrounding water with faeces and food waste, contaminating the water and producing methane, a potent greenhouse gas (Poore et al, 2018). One alternative for areas currently dependent upon fish farming is the move to properly managed seaweed farming which is currently underexploited in Europe (Campbell et al, 2019).
- Poor diet is now the number one cause of death and disability in the UK resulting in a rising burden of obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer (Newton et al, 2015). Wholefood plant-based foods are healthier than meat and dairy and reduce the risk of these diseases which cost society billions, relieving pressure on the NHS and care sector (Fraser, 2009).
- There should be a rapid move from subsidies that support animal farming to subsidies for plant-based foods such as vegetables, fruit, pulses and grains. This would help farmers to move to plant-based farming and improve the availability of healthy plant-based foods throughout the country.
- Plant-based foods, particularly those produced without the use of animal manures, cause less food-borne infections than animal-based foods such as chicken and eggs. The move to plant-based foods would reduce the incidence of these diseases and therefore relieve the pressure on health care systems.
- Plant-based foods bring investment into urban and rural economies, e.g. Heather Mills’ “vegan northern powerhouse” is already bringing investment into the north east of England.
- The move to a plant-based diet could be encouraged by implementing inclusive and sustainable policies for public sector institutions such as schools, hospitals and care homes to offer good vegan meals as standard on menus every day. Skills in cooking plant-based foods should be part of the school curriculum so that all children are able to create healthy and tasty meals.
- Farmers should be supported financially and practically, in the move away from farming animals to producing sustainable plant crops or ecological restoration. The Vegan Society’s Grow Green campaign should be extended and widely promoted.