Meat free football club drops the dairy for World Vegan Day

Forest Green Rovers football club

If Forest Green Rovers FC isn’t already the greenest football club in Britain, it will be today.

The club has been flying the flag for sustainable sport since 2011, when its New Lawn stadium became the country’s first meat free ground.

And since the start of this season all food outlets at the premises have been vegan.

But today Forest Green will take their environmental commitment a step further and drop the dairy entirely, to celebrate World Vegan Day and commemorate the Vegan Society’s 70th anniversary.

Only vegan food will be served at the Rovers’ Conference League game this afternoon against Lincoln City at New Lawn, in Nailsworth, Gloucestershire – both on the terraces and in the hospitality areas.

What began as an attempt to make players leaner and greener soon embraced supporters as well, and meat products were banned from the ground in February 2011.

Although supporters and visitors took a while to get used to the new healthier menu, vegetarian and vegan food is now hugely popular, according to Forest Green Rovers owner and chairman Dale Vince – who also owns green energy provider Ecotricity.

“We’ve been a meat free club for the last three seasons – it sounds much harder than it is,” Vince said. “A lot of vegetarian foods are actually vegan already. Our very popular veggie burger, for example, is actually vegan. And since there start of this year the food sold in the stadium outlets at the New Lawn has actually been vegan, with no fuss or drama.”

Paul, Mary and Stella McCartney said: “It’s great to hear how a football club took the positive environmental action of going meat free, and how this has been such a success. Good luck to Forest Green Rovers which is moving a step further by going vegan this Saturday. We admire the club’s strong commitment to sustainability and wish it all the very best.”

Vegan fare being served at the stadium today includes Vegan Club Toasties, Aubergine, Shitake and Rice-Stuffed Dolmas, Potato Bondas with Vegan Cheese, Grilled Courgette and Fennel Wraps, Mushroom and Sweet Potato Burgers and Polenta Chips with Tomato Relish.

Food sales this season are up 84 per cent on three years ago, when the club first went meat free, proving that traditional football fans are a more adaptable breed than they’re often given credit for.

It also bodes well for other clubs hoping to help their players and supporters adopt a healthier, happier lifestyle. Next stop the Premiership!