We are delighted to introduce Kenneth Keavey of Green Earth Organics. Kenneth (and Jenny) started Green Earth Organics box delivery scheme in 2006 from his organic farm situated 8 miles from Galway City. The farm originally belonged to his grandfather, then his father and Kenneth finally took over putting the farm into conversion for organic status in 2004. He currently farms on 40 acres of organically certified land. Another 10 acres is split between a wildlife biodiversity area, native woodland forestry (3,000 trees) and red clover/grassland. Kenneth will be a regular contributor to our Blog and, from time to time, we will have some exciting special offers from Green Earth Organics. Slow Food is not promoting vegetarianism or veganism, but rather the consumption of less meat but of better quality, i.e., free-range, rare breed, rather than factory farmed. However, we recognise that a lot of people are experimenting with/interested in being vegetarian or vegan so we hope Kenneth’s first article below will be of interest.

My Vegan Journey by Kenneth Keavey

My plant-based journey began about 25 years ago when I met Jenny. She was a vegetarian. I remember my dad joking with her when she arrived at our house first “would she not try the chicken soup, after all it didn’t have actual bits of chicken in it”. 25 years on and things have changed so much.

It is amazing to see how many people today are curious about eating more plants. Reasons seem to vary, from deciding to eat less meat, to saving the planet, to it is much better for your health.

The welfare of animals and the fact that our planet is dying under the pressure of feeding animals clinched the decision for me. I figured giving up meat was a small price to pay. The funny thing is I don’t miss it (apart from the cheese sometimes!) and now I couldn’t envisage eating the things I used to eat.

I love vegetables, I love plant-based cooking, it is amazing in its diversity and tastes. My brother-in-law, who switched in November and who has stuck to plant-based eating, reckons some of the finest meals he has ever had have been plant based.

It is funny when somebody in a family switches to plant based eating, the rest of the family can go into total shock. They may have no idea what it means and wonder if you can still eat bread or any food at all. At the start you can feel, and they think, that you will be eating grass for the rest of your life. If anything, after the initial adjustment period is over and you learn some of the tricks of the trade, a whole new vibrant world opens up.

Today all the big boys are jumping on the vegan band wagon and you can now get plant-based options in places that are the very antithesis of what the plant-based movement is about. Veganism has gone main stream. However, if this means more people are eating plants in my opinion this is a good thing.

Here are a few bits and bobs that I use on a regular basis.

Smoked tofu (fried makes it crispy) and Bean burgers – fantastic and quick.
Thai curry pastes – a quick and easy addition to make a gorgeous dinner with a tin of coconut milk (they are gluten free also).
Red and green pesto – fry a few mushrooms, make your pasta and add the pesto, within 10 minutes you have a fantastic vegan meal.
Coconut milk  – literally brilliant for everything.
Oat milk is my choice for tea and coffee, the Bunalun one contains oats, water and sunflower oil.
If I was a wine drinker we have an amazing selection of vegan wines. What I hear you say, aren’t all wines vegan? No, most wines use clarifying agents that can be meat, fish or egg! I never knew that!
Coconut yogurt – this is nothing short of amazing with some raspberry jam!
Nuts! I make a smoothie every day with a mix of almonds, dates, hazelnuts, seeds, ice and frozen banana. It is just like ice cream for breakfast and it is good for you!
Vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Spread – you can literally eat this by the spoonful out of the jar!
Finally, Chocolate, we have a massive range of gorgeous chocolate.  My favourite is the dark whole hazelnut, it is chunky and full of hazelnuts!

Good luck if you are thinking of, or are curious, or have already embarked on the journey. Enjoy, it is fun.