I’ve seen articles about the vegan football club show up on my timeline but I’ve never actually looked into it until I came across a MSN article which covered the actual guy behind it. I’ve got to say, this guy is one of my newest heroes, somewhere in between Elon Musk and Moby, and here’s why.


Sneaky Activism

One of the reasons I like what Dale has done is it’s put veganism on the map in a field where it’s otherwise unheard of. He didn’t just buy a football club and turn it vegan and be done with it, because there’s so much more to what he’s trying to do. As an environmentalist he’s using his wealth and platforms to transform and progress his message across everything he’s involved in.

I call it sneaky activism because people don’t see it in the same way as protests, slaughterhouse footage, or other forms of activism. It’s hard for people to get defensive against what he’s doing because it’s not a conversation being had that makes them uncomfortable, but the message gets out there. It’s likely why I’ve seen so few comments condemning him for “Forcing his views on people”. For those that do, there are so many others who come to the defence of it because they say it’s some of, if not, the best food at a football club in the country.

Here’s an overview of some of the things he’s been involved in:

  • Vince’s entire Ecotricity empire — which includes supplying green energy, setting up electric car charging points, and a green mobile phone service — is vegan.

  • “What we focus on is great food. It’s handmade by a local chef, using local ingredients where we can, and we put a lot of love into the food. You don’t normally find that with football.”

  • No more leather boots and balls

  • The stadium uses solar panels.

  • The stadium has banned plastics (paper straws can be found on the bar in the executive suite)

  • The stadium has electric car charging points out front.

  • All of the beverages on sale are vegan, with many of them being locally made.

  • The club uses no manure at all on its pitch – as an animal product, even a relatively cruelty-free one, it is banned. Instead, organic and plant-based fertilizers are used.

  • The players are fed vegan food when they train – five meals a week – and given cooking lessons so that they can try the recipes cooked by head chef Em Franklin.

  • In April the Rovers are hoping to secure planning permission for an ambitious all-wood stadium which, he says, would have the lowest carbon footprint of any stadium in the world. 

  • FIFA calls the club the greenest in the world.

The Impact

Chris Latham, a 30-year-old fan, started by becoming a vegetarian but then one day, standing in a food queue in the stadium during half time, made a decision to go the whole way.

“I was reading one of the signs they put up about the impact of the meat industry on the environment, and on animal culture, and it just resonated with a lot of what I believe,” he said. “So I thought I should give it a try. I’ve never looked back — it’s the best decision I’ve ever made”.

Away fans told him (Dale) the food on offer at Forest Green Rovers was the best at any stadium in the country.

“We took white meat off the menu, then fish, and two seasons ago we went the final stretch and took off dairy,” said Vince “In the time since we’ve done that, food sales have quadrupled.


Mixed Response




Educating Fans

As mentioned in the sections above, Dale doesn’t just stop at feeding the players, but seeing as he has a green empire that’s being built so a huge part of what he wants to do is educate on environmental impact. I’m going to requote from above because I feel it so important:

“I was reading one of the signs they put up about the impact of the meat industry on the environment, and on animal culture, and it just resonated with a lot of what I believe,” he said. “So I thought I should give it a try. I’ve never looked back — it’s the best decision I’ve ever made”.

I haven’t actually been to the club so I don’t know just how much material is available like this picture to the right, but as far as I can tell, this type of information is really making an impact.

Some words from Dale:

“I couldn’t be involved in something that was catering that kind of menu, but rather than do it in one go we went on a journey with our fans.” And it turned out the fans were surprisingly OK with the decision.

“A few got a bit angry and thought we were dictating to them what they could and couldn’t eat,” Vince says. “But we just explained that we were changing the menu according to our principals.”

Some FGR fans have even become vegetarians since the club took meat off the menu, which Vince is obviously thrilled about: “They’ve told us it’s changed their lives,” he says. According to Vince, after being convinced of the performance benefit of eating vegan before a match, the players were “completely on board.”

Vince is thrilled that the club’s fortunes haven’t been affected by the new menu: “People thought we’d kill the non-football side of the club and no one would book conferences or events, we’d lose sponsors and fans would stop coming but none of that happened.”

In fact, he says the people that were most vocal against the change are now the ones who are the biggest advocates of the new food. – Source

Interestingly, Forest Green have clearly been making an impact with the changes. Taken from here:

Sales and marketing director Phil King said: “We’ve had some home fans in the last few weeks asking for vegan options. “I know Forest Green serve exclusively vegan food. We’ve thought ahead and offered their directors a vegan option for the boardroom.

“We thought this would be a good match to offer a vegan option in Foxy’s as well. We always have a vegetarian option there but this is the first time we’ve had vegan.”



A Summary

I believe there is a quote that’s directly applicable to how I feel about this situation.

“With great power, comes great responsibility. Use it well, so we can live long and prosper”

– Albus Dumbledore

Any time you are in a position of power and you know that as the dominant species on the planet, we’ve got A LONG way to go. You should be using your platform for as much good as you can. Miley Cyrus, Moby, Morissey, Leonardo DiCaprio, Joaquin Phoenix, Ellen DeGeneres, Pamela Anderson, Woody Harrelson and Mayim Bialik are just some examples who have used their global reach to promote important issues, but it’s always nice to add one more to the list.

Of Course, as people will likely find out if they do their own research, the players themselves aren’t vegan (some may be), but when they are working they eat a vegan meal. This as been misrepresented in the reporting of the club, but it isn’t damaging the work that Dale has done. It would be amazing if the whole team went vegan, but until then, Dale is still doing a great job at rubbing off on the fans, teams who play home games at the stadium and as seen above, the footballing community as a whole. Getting veganism on the map and making waves in all sorts of industries is only a boon to the movement.

Good work Dale, I’m looking forward to seeing what your next moves are.

By |2018-02-24T06:14:23+00:00February 15th, 2018|Categories: Blog Post|0 Comments

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