A new initiative will see well over 150 Irish restaurants and cafes celebrate vegan food on World Vegan Day on November 1st. Each outlet will offer at least one delicious vegan ‘special of the day’, and many will continue to serve vegan options for all of November and beyond. The project is being driven by the group Full Irish Vegan, who want to encourage more people to sample the wide range of mouth-watering vegan cuisine that is on offer in Ireland. You can view the list of participating restaurants here.
International World Vegan Day was launched on November 1st, 1994 to celebrate the 50th birthday of the founding of the UK Vegan Society. The day begins World Vegan Month, and recognition of it has grown exponentially in recent years. This year sees the first formal celebration of World Vegan Day in Ireland with over 150 venues signed up serving a range of tempting plant-based meals, desserts and beverages.
The campaign is the brainchild of a small group of vegan activists around the country who were inspired to use the occasion of International World Vegan Day to encourage more Irish people to sample the delights of vegan food.
While many people turn to veganism due to compassion for animals, a vegan lifestyle can also bring many other benefits from health and wellbeing, to helping combat climate change, rainforest destruction and the threat of zoonotic diseases. In terms of human health, studies suggest that a plant-based diet can have strong health benefits, from managing diabetes, cholesterol levels and body weight as well as supporting mental health and well-being, as shown by a review of randomised, controlled trials published in 2018.
Scientists and medical experts have argued for years that moving away from meat and dairy would be both more sustainable for the planet and healthier for consumers. Ireland’s animal agriculture accounts for 32% of its greenhouse gas emissions, a larger proportion than any other sector. Worldwide, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) report that almost 15% of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions come from meat and dairy. This is equivalent to the emissions from all car, train, ship and plane travel combined.
Vegan food is now tastier and more popular than ever, point out The Full Irish Vegan Group. Social media is brimming with influencers and chefs sharing vegan recipes, and many celebrities and sports stars have embraced veganism, including Venus Williams, Novak Djokovic, Lewis Hamilton and even Patrik Baboumian, the world’s strongest man, who all credit their achievements to a plant-based diet.
Unsurprisingly, veganism is on the rise in Ireland as it is around the world, with people making conscientious food choices. The Irish Vegan website lists over 1,000 restaurants around Ireland – all of which offer vegan options or vegan menus. The number of vegan products on the shelves has risen dramatically in recent years. There are now over 20 Irish businesses producing food solely for the vegan market, with many more expected to join the increasingly lucrative market.
Lucy Glendinning, a spokesperson for the Full Irish Vegan group, says: “We’re delighted to say that the initiative has grown far beyond our expectations for our first year. We are blown away by the enthusiasm from restaurants across the country, and we know the Irish public will really enjoy all the many delicious vegan options on offer that day”.
The campaign received a welcome endorsement from Hollywood actor and vegan and animal rights campaigner Joaquin Phoenix when he sent this personal message to the team at Full Irish Vegan:
For interviews, please call Gerry Boland, 087 6397557, Lucy Glendinning, 087 6531703, or Joan Burgess, 085 7320872.