On the 8th June 2020, we are asking workplaces, caterers and individuals across Oxfordshire to have a vegetarian or vegan lunch in order to reduce the climate impact of the food we eat, and get everyone eating more vegetables. The food we eat in Oxfordshire makes up 43% of our ecological footprint (Moore 2018, Oxfordshire Ecological Footprinting Study), and by eating less meat, eggs and dairy and more vegetables we can make a huge difference.

Read more about Switch Up Your Lunch on our campaign page, including interesting food and climate stats, as well as resources to help you eat more veg and encourage kids to love veggies.

During Oxford Green Week 2019, the Switch Up Your Lunch campaign reached an estimated 15,000 people. This year, we are running the campaign over a whole week, with online cooking demos every day at noon, and hope to reach even more people. Even companies that are working from home at the moment due to COVID-19 can participate in the pledge through social media – a great way to engage remote teams and support them in eating more veg at home.

The online cooking demos are giving local chefs an opportunity to showcase their best tricks for cooking simple and versatile dishes, and adding more veg to our meals.

On the 8th June, Ben Gibbons, Head Chef at St. Anne’s College at Oxford University, is opening the series with the Spanish tomato soup Salmorejo topped with seasonal asparagus, including ideas on how to substitute different ingredients depending on availability.

On Wednesday 10th June, which is also the Sustainable Food Places Day of Celebration, we are hosting a live cooking session demonstrating the Good Food Cooking Toolkit, our concise guide for cooking creatively without recipes. This approach to cooking – starting with what is available rather than shopping for recipes – lends itself not just to reducing food waste and making the most use of a veg box or allotment harvest; it is also perfect for making the most of COVID-19 emergency food parcels which many people are dependent on at the moment.

Taking a similar approach, local surplus food heroes Waste2Taste are demonstrating a vegetarian tortilla recipe that lends itself to improvising with all kinds of vegetables on Tuesday 9th June.

See all cooking demos for the #SwitchUpYourLunch week on Facebook

Rupert Wilkinson, MD of Oxford Product Design, about why he decided to take the pledge: “It’s something that I’ve been doing already this year. It was part of my New Year’s Resolution anyway – eat vegetarian lunches during the working week. And I’ve really enjoyed it. I’ve tried to let people know that’s what I’m doing and have tried to let them know why. But what really inspired me to take on this challenge was that as a population, we shouldn’t really be eating this much meat and meat should be something that’s more precious.” 

Hear more stories from some of the companies that have taken the #SwitchUpYourLunch pledge on the Oxfordshire Greentech blog.


The Switch Up Your Lunch veg pledge campaign is supported by Good Food OxfordOxfordshire GreentechOxfordshire County CouncilWomen in SustainabilityLow Carbon Hub and the national Veg Cities campaign.

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