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13 February 2017 •

January's Green Gate Challenge 2017

Each month at the Gate, we set ourselves a monthly Green Gate Challenge. Green Gate is what we call our sustainability policy and we like to embark on monthly challenges.
 
The challenges are about changing how we think in the long term (and not just for that month), but we’ve found that giving each month a focus helps us keep sustainability and our Green Gate Policy at the forefront of our thinking as an organisation.
 
This month we decided to have meat-free Mondays. For those of us who are veggie, we attempted vegan Mondays.  
 
We’re only a team of 10, but small changes make big impacts and so we decided to take on this challenge.
                                                                                   
Why not take on the #GreenGate challenge?
 
As always, here’s how we found it!
 
We’ve done this challenge before and I always find it the hardest, because we always end up forgetting! So this time, I put reminders in our calendars and we went for it! I found that vegan lunches are the easiest (thank you pret) and so for me, this challenge reminded me that it’s not about making a complete lifestyle change, but maybe making small, incremental changes, which is why I think these challenges are a good idea because of the principle of do it for one month: do it for a lifetime.  
Chrissy Angus, General Manager 
 
I don’t actually eat a great deal of meat but I still find this challenge difficult – as it really highlights to me how easy it is to break habits you weren’t really aware of – such as grabbing the nearest sandwich (usually tuna!) when you’re in a rush at lunchtime.   So whilst I did trip myself up a couple of times, I just tried to exercise more consideration across the week as a whole.  I got organised and planned my shopping list more effectively so that I made myself a series of veggie lunches that lasted all week rather than just Mondays.  Not a total failure and it just goes to show that you can make a couple of small changes to make a difference.
Jo Royce, Executive Director
 
I really struggled with this challenge! For me, I kept giving in to cravings of what particular food I wanted to eat and for most of the time…that is meat. I also tend to stick to the misinformed assumption that eating meat ‘fills’ you up more (I’m hungry 24/7) and is cheaper than buying more healthy, vegetarian or vegan meals. Perhaps it’s just my marketing brain but I feel like product advertising, supermarkets and chains still have a long way to go in terms of selling the image that vegetarian/vegan meals are affordable and satisfying – otherwise I’m just going to keep buying a £2 chicken toastie or ham sandwich meal deal at Tesco. But yes, I need to work harder to change my habits.
Joshua Allen, Marketing and Audience Development Officer
 
I usually always go for vegetarian options when I eat out, so trying to go vegan once a week was the biggest challenge for me.  This month’s challenge was much easier than I anticipated because there are actually more vegan options around than I thought. It also encouraged me to try out different vegan restaurants and cafes which has been great. The challenge definitely helped me look past some of the stereotypes that surround vegan food, and find out about some of the benefits of a vegan diet.
Yasmin Hafesji, Development Assistant 
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The challenges are about changing how we think in the long term (and not just for that month), but we’ve found that giving each month a focus helps us keep sustainability and our Green Gate Policy at the forefront of our thinking as an organisation.
 
This month we decided to have meat-free Mondays. For those of us who are veggie, we attempted vegan Mondays.  
 
We’re only a team of 10, but small changes make big impacts and so we decided to take on this challenge.
                                                                                   
Why not take on the #GreenGate challenge?
 
As always, here’s how we found it!
 
We’ve done this challenge before and I always find it the hardest, because we always end up forgetting! So this time, I put reminders in our calendars and we went for it! I found that vegan lunches are the easiest (thank you pret) and so for me, this challenge reminded me that it’s not about making a complete lifestyle change, but maybe making small, incremental changes, which is why I think these challenges are a good idea because of the principle of do it for one month: do it for a lifetime.  
Chrissy Angus, General Manager 
 
I don’t actually eat a great deal of meat but I still find this challenge difficult – as it really highlights to me how easy it is to break habits you weren’t really aware of – such as grabbing the nearest sandwich (usually tuna!) when you’re in a rush at lunchtime.   So whilst I did trip myself up a couple of times, I just tried to exercise more consideration across the week as a whole.  I got organised and planned my shopping list more effectively so that I made myself a series of veggie lunches that lasted all week rather than just Mondays.  Not a total failure and it just goes to show that you can make a couple of small changes to make a difference.
Jo Royce, Executive Director
 
I really struggled with this challenge! For me, I kept giving in to cravings of what particular food I wanted to eat and for most of the time…that is meat. I also tend to stick to the misinformed assumption that eating meat ‘fills’ you up more (I’m hungry 24/7) and is cheaper than buying more healthy, vegetarian or vegan meals. Perhaps it’s just my marketing brain but I feel like product advertising, supermarkets and chains still have a long way to go in terms of selling the image that vegetarian/vegan meals are affordable and satisfying – otherwise I’m just going to keep buying a £2 chicken toastie or ham sandwich meal deal at Tesco. But yes, I need to work harder to change my habits.
Joshua Allen, Marketing and Audience Development Officer
 
I usually always go for vegetarian options when I eat out, so trying to go vegan once a week was the biggest challenge for me.  This month’s challenge was much easier than I anticipated because there are actually more vegan options around than I thought. It also encouraged me to try out different vegan restaurants and cafes which has been great. The challenge definitely helped me look past some of the stereotypes that surround vegan food, and find out about some of the benefits of a vegan diet.
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