Lawn Manor Academy pupils have been looking at how they could help protect the planet by changing some of their eating habits.
Beginning on World Vegan Day on 1 November, and as COP26 gets underway, hospitality and catering pupils looked at what it means to be a vegan, and how eschewing meat and dairy products can help reduce their carbon footprints.
People who decide to be vegans live a lifestyle that avoids all animal foods such as meat, fish, dairy, eggs and honey, and also don’t use animal derived products, such as leather.
Sarah Smith, Head of Design Technologies at Lawn Manor Academy, which is part of the Royal Wootton Bassett Trust, said veganism has grown in popularity over recent years, and the school wanted to examine why that might be.
She said: “We are looking at what it means to be a vegan, and particularly at the reasons some people have chosen this way of life.
“One of the major arguments for veganism is climate change and the impact that eating a meat-based diet has on the environment, and pupils are already very engaged in what’s going on at COP26 and how global warming can be reduced.
“There was little awareness among the general public of veganism some years ago, but it has become more mainstream and popular. We are looking at ways that small changes, such as selecting one ingredient over another, can contribute to reducing our carbon footprint.
“A large part of our first lesson was about trying some of the vegan foods that are available in our local supermarkets. We tasted vegan ice-cream, cheese, ‘meatballs’, crisps, sweets, bacon substitute, cheese pasties, milk alternatives and yoghurts.
“The pupils were particularly surprised that you can still enjoy meringues if you’re following a vegan diet – you just have to use aquafaba, which is the liquid from cans of chickpeas, instead of egg whites. They also learned that they don’t need to become wholly vegan or vegetarian to do their bit for climate change. Just by making some small tweaks, reducing the amount of meat or dairy in our weekly diet and increasing our intake of fruit and vegetables, we can all improve our own health and that of the planet.”