New Vegan Centre Opens in London – And ProVeg UK Was There!
Philip Mansbridge June 4, 2019
It’s always great to reach new audiences with the plant-based message, and it’s always great to have more and more places whose sole focus is on plant-based education and activities. That’s why I was delighted to be at the launch of the brand new Jewish Vegetarian Society (JVS) Centre.
1stof its kind in the world
Based in North West London, this weekend saw the centre officially open. The JVS is an international charity dedicated to promoting a kinder world, without killing animals for food and although the name says vegetarian, it is now a plant-based organisation.
The brand-new centre is to be a hub for events for the local vegetarian and plant-based community, as well as anyone curious to learn more. With a commercial kitchen for cookery classes, a conference room/event space and a vegetable garden, there’s bound to be lots on!
I was invited to speak on a panel hosted by Journalist Etan Smallman, alongside an MP that I’ve worked closely with throughout my career, Labour MP (Bristol East), Kerry McCarthy. Kerry is a long time vegan and a strong advocate for animals, veganism and environmental issues. She was also a key part of the recent passing of the Parliamentary Motion to declare a climate and environmental emergency.
The topic of discussion….. how do we make early interventions to help move towards a more plant-based future?
At ProVeg, our School Plates programme does exactly that – working with schools, caterers and local authorities to help develop meaningful and tasty options that are good for pupils, the planet and for animals.
An area I focused on during the panel debate was the importance of shifting the narrative when it comes to plant-based. We must move language and tradition away from making the plant-based or vegetarian option separate and non-inclusive. Instead, we should just look at food as just that – a tasty meal, looks good, does good and tastes good. Only then will we truly increase the uptake in schools of meat-free meals. We don’t use this idea of them and us, we just need to have a few options available, each as appealing as each other and each judged on their own merit rather than by their categorisation.
Kerry McCarthy spoke of her journey to veganism, the political environment for this area and the benefits environmentally of meat reduction, as well as about the great strides already happening when it comes to mainstreaming vegan food as ‘normal’ food. Whilst recognising that some big fast food chains or supermarkets are responsible for large volumes of meat sales, she fully endorsed these outlets coming onboard and offering good alternatives to meat in order to help people meat reduce.
What a great day!
All in all, it was a great day, with cooking classes, talks on climate change, a great presentation from our friends at Veganuary and our panel discussion too, topped off with a delicious and healthy plant-based lunch. It is always nice to interact with such an engaged audience of plant-based, vegetarian and flexitarian members of the public, and I was honoured that ProVeg UK was invited to talk about our meaningful work in this area.
You can learn more about our School Plates programme here.
Executive Director for ProVeg UK. Philip has extensive knowledge of plant-based food and related animal welfare issues. Philip has previously headed up leading animal welfare and conservation charities, including in the role of UK Director for at the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), and Care for the Wild International, as well as working in senior positions at Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, Guide Dogs and Cats Protection, and is a regular at animal and plant-based events up and down the country.