My name is Richard (Rich), I moved to Norfolk around 2 years ago. I’m 47 and wentVegan 23 years ago after 6 years of being vegetarian. Here is my story
It started by meeting someone who was vegan ( at that time an entirely new concept for me) and was part of a natural progression or evolution, becoming involved with hunt sabs, animal rights/ liberation and the anarch-punk scene around the late ’80’s/’90’s.
It seemed much harder then, especially in a small village/town and countryside, mostly populated, it seemed by hunting/ shooting and farming types. There was a stigma/ fear/concern about sick, malnourished vegetarians, let alone vegans ! So I made appoint of researching things such as nutrition anywhere I could, even in medical dictionaries, before contacting the Vegetarian Society, Animal Aid and many other groups and numerous Fanzines and pamphlets.
I became adept at creatively adapting recipes, the earliest in a local snack bar ; the peanut butter, onion and pickle/chutney toasted sandwich, maybe with a side of crisps/gherkins.
I have long made improvised, experimental ingredients and recipes, such as gram flour ” omelettes”/frittatas, cheesy paste made from yeast extract, plamil mayo and tahini.
Also using leftovers and foraged ingredients, such as mince from roast veg peelings.
My driving interest has been compassion for animals, regard and concern for theenvironment, abhorrence of compulsive, blind consumerism based on suffering, cruelty, destruction and exploitation against others.
Finding ways of being productive, creative and self reliant in real, positive, fulfilling and life affirming ways that are defined and controlled by myself, has taken on a deeper and further urgency.
With meaning, purpose, resonance and determination in recent years, with perpetual, increasing economic crisis, austerity, war conflict, political corruption/ repression, social alienation and so on.
Living a more simple, humane, rational, sustainable way in more direct relation and communion with nature, through foraging trips, nature walks/rambles and vegan organic growing and gardening.
This has proved positively therapeutic for the psychological/ mental health problems largely created and resulting from awareness and consciousness of the above issues.
I grow fruit, vegetables, and herbs, as well as trees. These include wild specimens and kitchen/ shop/ market leftovers, I have even planted out and grown stuff in the wilds.
I also spend a lot of time and energy gathering gardening and growing materials; seaweed from the beach, woodchip, leaf mould, hay strimmings / mowings and digging top soil from molehills ! as well as making my own compost.
We currently have rhubarb, currants, apples, pears, gooseberries, with many more fruit trees and bushes yet to produce. As well as domesticated and wild strawberries, we also have a herb garden.
Currently I am raising salads, leeks, onions, garlic, shallots, chard, spinach, broccoli, carrots, kale, all types of beans, peas, tomatoes and so much more….
It’s hard, but rewarding work, with also the abundance of foraged blackberries, nettles, apples, walnuts, fungi, chickweed, wild garlic and much more !! to gather.