West Dunbartonshire Council now provides vegan food in all of its nurseries and primary and secondary schools thanks to a challenge from a Glasgow mother.
Alexis Kasravi has successfully secured vegan school meals for her five-year-old daughter Mia, leading to all schools in the council area now offering vegan food options.
When little Mia was in nursery last year, her parents fought for vegan options to be included, which resulted in the Council rolling out a new vegan menu across its entire area.
Alexis had got in touch with The Vegan Society’s legal team who helped her write a formal letter to a council education officer in which she asked for her daughter Mia to be provided with vegan food.
She said: “I am very happy that my daughter can enjoy the meals she deserves and that other vegan children will automatically be offered this option.
“Mia is now in primary school and enjoying her food very much, and we don’t have to worry about secondary school battles later either!
“It’s important for public institutions like schools to cater for vegan pupils, but plant based food can be enjoyed by most people, so it promotes inclusivity, sustainability and good nutrition.”
When Alexis initially asked Mia’s nursery for vegan meals last year, her request was refused, resulting in neither the nursery nor the parent being able provide Mia’s food.
She was not able to bring in food for her daughter due to health and cross contamination concerns, which led her to contact The Vegan Society.
The charity, which recently registered in Scotland due to its political work there, collaborated with Alexis to explain to the nursery why it was important to offer vegan meals.
Dr Jeanette Rowley, The Vegan Society’s legal advisor, said: “We are delighted to have been able to help Alexis and Mia.
“All children, regardless of their ethical convictions, should be able to benefit from government-funded schemes; we applaud the school and council for recognising this.
“Veganism is protected under human rights and equality law, which means if a child is eligible for a free school meal, the duty is not to discriminate by providing a vegan option.”
Data from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey found that children in the UK are not meeting their recommended intakes for fibre, which suggests they may not be eating enough fruit and vegetables.
It’s easy to produce tasty vegan meals that are rich in fibre and provide multiple servings of fruit and vegetables, and it’s a great way to help children eat more beans and pulses as recommended in the UK’s Eatwell Guide.
Eating vegan is ‘the single biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth’, and the United Nations recognises the importance of plant foods in tackling both climate change and world hunger.
The Vegan Society provides support to vegan parents who struggle to secure plant-based meals for their children in schools. You can contact us on 07482 363922 or by emailing KnowYourRights[at]vegansociety[dot]com.
More resources for vegan parents, including letter templates, are available here.