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February 1st was the beginning of the Vegan Challenge in the Netherlands. The Dutch Organisation for Veganism and Viva las Vega’s dare anyone to participate and eat and live naturally for one month.

Picture from veganchallenge.nl

The Vegan Challenge is on the whole month of February.

I was vegan for three years between 2007 and 2010. But I turned back to being a full-time vegetarian because finding food alternatives when eating out with others cost me too much energy.

I do still enjoy the things I learned during this time and support the ideal of a balanced consumer pattern. So I decided to monitor my vegan/vegetarian footprint during the Vegan Challenge month.

This is how I did the first week:

Friday (35% vegan)

Breakfast: soy yoghurt and muesli (honey free)

Dinner: used soy yoghurt instead of cream in the sweet bread recipe for desert

Saturday (70% vegan)

Breakfast: soy yoghurt and muesli (honey free)

Shopping: visited vegetarian shoe shop Vega-Life in Amsterdam and bought a new pair from Vegetarian Shoes

Dinner: in the Amsterdam Library with a vegan friend, fries with tomato ketchup and a salad without animal products

Desert: ginger flavoured dark chocolate

Sunday (60% vegan)

Breakfast: soy yoghurt and muesli (honey free)

Dinner: Indian tomato curry with rice, papadums and mango chutney

Monday (55% vegan)

Breakfast: soy yoghurt and muesli (honey free)

Shopping: soy yoghurt was sold out in the supermarket (by people in the Challenge?) so I eat real yoghurt for the rest of the week. Bought “blue mice” (a sugar and aniseed sprinkle Dutch people put on bread) because the blue and white version was promoted to be free of animal food colouring by the Vegan Challenge. Bought organic, vegetarian cheese.

Picture from VeganChallenge.nl

Biscuit with “blauwe muisjes”

Dinner: vegetables, baked potatoes with a Tuscan vegetarian with dairy

Tuesday (20% vegan)

Dinner: salad, vegetables and Corn fritters (with egg)

Wednesday (10% vegan)

Shopping: bought washing detergent and softener and maple syrup at the organic supermarket (good for the planet!)

Dinner: pizza with cheese

Thursday (10% vegan)

Desert: made a fruit juice from the Nike Training Center recipe I earned doing my work-outs

Result: 37% vegan this week!

Today, my friend from Geneva told me about cooperative farming in Switzerland. In a country where organic food is not widely available cooperative farms offer a chance to purchase local, organically grown food. And not only that, farmers and consumers are connected. Buyers have a share in the company and are expected to help on the land for four half days a year. An example is “les jardins de Cocagne”.

Vegetables by LollyKnit on Flickr.com

Cooperative farming is known as CSA: Community-supported agriculture.

The Netherlands is also familiar with this form of community farming, involving consumers in different forms. An example close to my home is Amelis’Hof. They have subsciptions on weekly vegetable bags and offer voluntary work for people in a care program.

Tweets (Dutch and English)