Glastonbury Town has made the commitment to go fully Vegan by 2023
Glastonbury Town is to be the first place in Britain to make a radical new commitment to the health of its residents, visitors and the environment. The Town has signed the Vegan Town Pledge, intending to go fully vegan by Spring 2023. Measures are to be introduced gradually from September of this year, to wean the town off meat products and onto far more nutritious alternatives.
Somerset’s Environmental Health Officers, who will be in charge of enforcing the rules when they are fully implemented, will be taking a carrot, rather than a stick, approach to persuading people to adopt the new lifestyle, for the first year at least. While locals will not be compelled to adopt a vegan diet, shops and hospitality in the town will no longer be permitted to sell animal products, so determined carnivores will have to travel elsewhere to purchase meat and dairy. The keeping of livestock within the town will also be prohibited, as will meat barbecues.
Spokesperson for VeG (Vegan Glastonbury) Jen McCrump, is delighted with the news, as she petitioned the Government to implement the Vegan Towns Initiative and then, when successful, suggested Glastonbury as the first Vegan Town. She told me “We’re aiming to provide people with education and alternatives, rather than excluding meat eaters, so we will still allow non vegans to visit the town. Once here we hope they’ll enjoy the vegan meals on offer in our exclusively vegan restaurants and cafes. Of course the town would benefit enormously from increased numbers of vegan visitors too”.
I haven’t been able to establish what the local food shops, cafes and pubs think of the plans as they were too busy getting ready to reopen on April 12th to speak to me. It appears though that some of them were not even aware of the Vegan Town commitment. It’s fortunate then that they still have a couple of years to change their business practices.
There is a concern that some of the local businesses that manufacture non – vegan Somerset specialities will have to relocate. However I spoke to Sue Hobbs of the Vegan Advisory Group for Industry, Nanotechnology and Agriculture who told me “A perfectly good Cheddar cheese alternative can be made from latex and finely powdered kale. Cider can of course be vegan, providing the local cider makers substitute turnips for the traditional rats in the barrels. People will just have to learn to adapt”.
A Rainbow Round the Tor
Of course some will miss the sight of sheep grazing on nearby farmland, but farmer Avena Curry, herself a vegan, has recently moved to the outskirts of the town, and believes she has come up with the perfect alternative. “We need to divide the fields on the lower slopes of the Tor into strips, each one planted with a different coloured vegetable. By autumn the Tor will be surrounded by a rainbow of nutritious foodstuffs, this will feed the Town and create the perfect photo opportunity”.
Although Glastonbury Festival is actually 7 miles away from the Town and therefore out of the scope of VeG, Avena is hoping that Michael Eavis will close down the dairy side of his operation and fully embrace the Vegan ethos. “Look at the demographics, 67% of Festival goers are 24 to 35 years old, social grade AB and come from urban areas, if the festival doesn’t act now chances are the ticket buyers will head to other events with a Vegan ethos anyway”.
Longer term, VeG can see other benefits of compulsory veganism on the townsfolk. Jen told me “We all know that eating meat leads to multiple health complaints, studies show that after only five years of veganism one of the town’s health centres will no longer be needed. The building can then be re-utilized as a centre for classes in vegan cookery, and therapies like crystal healing and Reiki will replace allopathic medicine. Although some may initially be resistant to veganism, we’re sure they will thank us when they are living to a hundred!”.
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