Forest Green Rovers Becomes World's First Vegan Football Club!
UPDATE: Being the world’s first vegan football club has done the Forest Green Rovers a lot of good, since after their 3-1 win against Tranmere at Wembley Stadium in London last weekend, the “little club on the hill” has officially been promoted to the English Football League for the first time, with this being their 19th consecutive season in the National League.
The BBC notes how the village team differs from most other teams in the Football League, stating:
“Whether it be the vegan diet for the players, the barring of any red meat being served in their ground on match days, the Scottish seaweed used to help fertilise the pitch or the solar-powered lawnmower cutting it, this is a club breaking from convention.”
Chairman Dale Vince also noted that he plans for the club to “one day compete as high as the Championship.”
English football club Forest Green Rovers have made history in an interesting twist. The club has become–as of Saturday–the world’s first vegan football club.
The club is currently leading the English fifth tier, and had become vegetarian back in 2011. Forest Green took the next big step and made the decision to eliminate fish and dairy products from the menu as well. Dale Vince, the club’s owner, stated:
“We stopped serving meat to our players, fans and staff about four seasons ago. We’ve been on a mission since then to introduce our fans to this new world. When you drop the ‘meat and two veg’ approach, a whole new world of food options opens up.The gap between vegetarian and vegan food is actually quite small; it’s a step rather than a leap to take. A lot of our food has been vegan for some time now, and this season we’ve taken the last small step.”
Vince even changed the colors of the club from black and white to black and green when he initially took over in 2010. In 2012 the club reached the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) gold standards for environmental performance. The field itself is organic, and the club collects the water under the pitch in order to use it for irrigation, with the buildings fitted with recycled carpet and organic paint.
While fans may not be used to the idea of football clubs serving vegan foods, based on Forest Green’s partnership with meat-substitute company Quorn, some of the many options available on the menu will include sweet potato burgers, pizza, and fajitas. Fans won’t leave thirsty either–there will be a variety of both vegan beer and cider available!
When asked why the focus on vegetarianism and then veganism, Vince stated:
“The meat and dairy industry is responsible for more emissions than all the world’s planes, trains, cars and boats put together. It involves incredible animal cruelty and staggering numbers: in Britain alone, over one billion animals are eaten each year — three million per day — and that’s not even counting fish. Each of these animals lives a short and awful life, and each of them consumes more food than their bodies provide us with. Making these facts plain and demonstrating what a plant based diet looks, and tastes like, is an important part of our work.”
There is a first time for everything, and the world’s first vegan football club is further proof of that. Let’s see what the future will hold for this eco-vegan football club!
Photo Credit: http://www.shropshirestar.com/