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Mum wins fight to change the menu

A pioneering Mum has won her campaign for her daughter to be able to have vegan school dinners.

The number of vegans in Great Britain has quadrupled in the last four years and campaigners claim eating more plant-based food is inline with government objectives including health, sustainability, the environment, affordability, local production and food security.

But for Laura Chepner, Mum of 4-year-old Lois, the fact that veganism is a protected belief under British rules, didn’t count for much. She told The Rooftop:

Dropping my daughter off at school in Bury for her very first day was supposed to be a joyous and memorable occasion. Memorable is was, joyous it certainly was not.

Quite the opposite in fact.

The school chef was aware, prior to day one, that my daughter Lois, aged 4, was vegan but that morning I was told that she was unable to cater for her because veganism is a lifestyle choice and not a religious or allergy related requirement.

Undeterred, Laura contacted the council and her local councillors who agreed to a meeting with her. She explained:

At this meeting a draft menu was agreed upon, both they and I had created one to compare and I was assured that a completed version would be implemented as soon as possible.

True to their word, it has been.

I am thrilled to have been responsible for Bury Council’s first Vegan Menu and look forward to working on new menus with this forward thinking council over the coming months.

The British Dietetic Association says that well-planned vegan diets are suitable for every age and life stage and the United Nations has urged a move towards a meat and dairy free diet for the benefit of our planet.

The Vegan Society and Go Vegan Scotland are now calling on the Scottish Government to provide at least one vegan food option on every menu every day in public institutions in a petition.

The move comes as Scottish Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing recently confirmed the government’s commitment to introducing a Good Food Nation Bill during the current session of Parliament.

Louise Davies, Head of Campaigns, Policy and Research at The Vegan Society, said:

The Scottish Government is responsible for ensuring that our public sector provides for vegans in Scotland and the proposed legislation would assist in fulfilling that obligation.

Provision for vegans in the public sector is lacking, with hospital patients and school children often going hungry.

The petition can be signed online at the Scottish Parliament’s website.

About the author

Founder Member of Campaign Collective, chair of the Public Relations & Communications Association Charity and Not-For-Profit Group. Write mainly about charity, public sector and social enterprise communications.