We’re so sad to hear that local vegan pioneer Heather Foster has taken the difficult decision to close The Green Kitchen, after 5 years in the lead of a wave of interest in vegan food and veganism in the area.
Heather has said, “To my lovely customers and friends, during the last 2 months I have had time to reflect on the business and how the future looks. At the start of the lockdown we continued trading by selling stock items and fresh fruit and veg. … [but] the likelihood of new regulations for cafes, means the green kitchen isn’t going to be a viable option anymore. So I’m sad to say it’s not good news. I’ve made the tough decision to permanently close the green kitchen from June 1st. and cease trading.”
Heather has been very supportive of the work of Sustainable St Albans and the Sustainability Festival – often providing delicious chocolate cake for workshops, smooth and tasty pumpkin soup for our first ever Pumpkin Rescue market stall – (feeding the five thousand that turned out to be!) and providing lunches and refreshments for the SustFest market event at Fleetville School in 2018.
SustFest16 Pumpkin Rescue stall with Heather’s Pumpkin Soup – with Sustainable St Albans trustee Catherine Ross, and the 2016 Mayor of St Albans Cllr Frances Leonard.
Heather also supported Ruby Raut’s Mayors Pride Award-winning Food Waste Ninjas project tackling food waste across St Albans and Harpenden schools
Why eating vegan food is important (and delicious)
Numerous reports have shown that one of the actions we can do to reduce carbon emissions is to shift our diets away from meat-eating and towards plant-based food. Just this week, a plant-based diet made it to the BBC’s useful Top Ten Tips to reduce your Carbon Footprint. The authoritative UK Committee on Climate Change also recommends a switch away from beef, lamb and dairy.
What the Green Kitchen showed was that this didn’t require us wearing a hair-shirt; vegan food can be varied and delicious. We remember going there for an office team-lunch, with a mixed group from carnivores to vegans, and everyone leaving happy and full. We also loved their evening specials with a vegan Nepalese buffet and special Ethiopian evenings. Where else in St Albans could you do that?! The Green Kitchen allowed non-vegans to try vegan food in a friendly atmosphere and allowed vegans to meet each other and feel part of a community.
Follow their inspiration, and try some plant-based meals
Heather and the staff at The Green Kitchen wanted to show that plant-based food can be delicious and good for the planet. So why not take this strange lockdown time as a chance to try some new recipes? There are thousands of vegan recipes online on sites like BBC Good Food (including family friendly vegan food), Bosh, Tibits, the Vegan Society, the Vegan Recipe Club and far more.
Use them or lose them: support your local favourites
The closure of The Green Kitchen reminds us of the sad reality that the lockdown is causing financial difficulties for all kinds of businesses, including our local favourites. So, when you can, give them your custom.
For example, have you tried Lussmanns To Go? The Refill Pantry is open for online orders then pick up . Eat Whole Foods is open, and also offers delivery for online orders over £20. Carpenters has remained open throughout with its farm shop and garden business. The Fleetville Larder remains open with social distancing and offers home delivery. Charlie’s Coffee Shop on London Road are now back open -check times on social media @CharliesStA. Redbournbury Mill are still selling flour through local venues. To help you, St Albans BID have created a whole directory of local businesses, including pub-hubs, farm shops, restaurants doing takeaway, and wine/beer delivery.