- Forest Green are leading the way in being an environmentally friendly club
- The club went vegan in October last year and have an organic pitch
- Chairman Dale Vince is CEO of the world’s first green electricity company
Harry Slavin For The Daily Mail
Every Saturday, away fans up and down the country reach the front of the food queue only to be met with the numbing news that they are out of chicken Balti pies or sausage rolls.
At Forest Green Rovers on Saturday, there wasn’t a single sausage roll in sight. Not that the 40 hardy souls following Braintree Town expected any less. There hasn’t been red meat on the menu at The New Lawn since 2011.
The National League club’s slogan — ‘Sustainability in Sport, changing the rules of the game’ — is emblazoned across the North Stand and as of October last year, the club announced it had gone entirely vegan, with all food served on matchdays —to fans and players — free of any animal produce.
The New Lawn’s pitch is grown organically in a stadium which is also completely vegan
The National League side are proud to be an environmentally friendly football club
It is all part of the vision held by chairman Dale Vince. The CEO of the world’s first green electricity company, Ecotricity, Vince got involved with the club in 2011 when looming relegation and financial ruin was threatening Forest Green’s existence.
An accidental owner by his own admission, the 54-year-old is determined to use the club as a platform to get the message of greener living across to a new audience.
‘Football and the environment is a unique combination and it gives us a platform,’ admitted Vince.
‘But it’s also great fun as well. Fundamentally it can’t be about sandals and lentils and a life of giving stuff up, which is the stereotype of green living, so we’re about to challenge that. If you’re going to present green lifestyles to people they’ve got to be fun.
‘The food is a great example. We don’t want people to focus on what’s not in it, we say just come and try the food.’
Adrian Pennock is the manager of Forest Green and oversaw their win over Braintree on Saturday
But it’s not just the food that is making people sit up and take notice of what is going on here.
While the Q pie, sweet and sour tofu balls or falafel wraps beat most matchday alternatives in the football league, there is plenty to suggest Rovers are leading the way in other areas too.
There’s an organic pitch, and a ‘mow-bot’ — a robotic lawnmower. There is also plans to build a new environmental 5,000-seater stadium on a 50-acre plot of land just off the M5 at Stroud.
As the club’s slogan goes, they’re changing the rules —not just the menu.
Sustainability has been the theme at Rovers — they are the longest serving members of the National League since their promotion in 1998. After clinching the club’s record-highest finish last season, manager Ady Pennock is in charge of building the club on the pitch.
The club’s slogan – ‘Sustainability in Sport, changing the rules of the game’ — is written across the North Stand
Saturday’s hard-fought 1-0 win saw them keep the pressure on Cheltenham at the top as the club look to reach the football league for the first time in its 127-year history.
The win was secured by Jon Parkin, the 34-year-old nodding home for his 10th goal of the season to settle the nerves after a host of chances went begging.
‘I don’t think we’d have won that last year’, was Parkin’s honest assessment after the match, showing the club is headed in the right direction. Not that he’s necessarily been conforming to all the club’s innovative ideas. ‘To be fair, the food is lovely,’ he said. ‘Some of the lads might keep to it, but me personally I like a bit of meat.’
The National League are pushing for promotion and are currently on a four-game winning streak
Share or comment on this article
Share what you think
The comments below have not been moderated.
The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.
Who is this week’s top commenter?
Find out now