An informal meet and greet was held at the Alley Cafe, in order to attract new members to the animal rights group. After discussing the different campaigns run by the group – including Vegan Free Food Give-aways – it was decided that the campaign should be re-started, to run on a monthly basis, with Eva and Patrick taking the main responsibility for it.

February – first give-away of the year

The first 2010 give-away took place outside McDonald’s, with food kindly donated from businesses, including:

– Beanies’ Health Foods (Fry’s Polony and Sausage Rolls).
– Dotty’s cafe (cupcakes and apple bakes)

Volunteers also made vegan pizza.

March – for the Animal Rights Spring Gathering

The March give-away took place as part of the 2010 Animal Rights Spring Gathering, again taking place outside McDonald’s, with food donated from:

– Veggies (cake)
– the Screaming Carrot Bakery (pastries)

Volunteers made cupcakes and vegan pizza, and hot veggie-sausage samples were cooked on a camping stove at the give-away itself.

April – for the International Vegan Bake Sale

The first pre- give-away cookery skill-share took place and had a cake theme for vegan baking week. Volunteers learned to make a range of things, including: vegan pastry, treacle tart, black forest gateaux, chocolate cupcakes, lemon drizzle cake and carrot cake. These cakes were then distributed at the following day’s give-away. Cake was also donated by Veggies.

Several people wanted recipes and gave us their email addresses, so immediately after this event a dedicated email address for the give-aways was set up (nottsfreefood@gmail.com) and it was decided to make a recipe book and hold the skill-shares on a monthly basis, promoting them to the public at the give-aways.

May – for National Vegetarian Week

At the May Give-away food was donated by:

– the Alley Cafe (burritos and pizza)
– Dotty’s Cafe (cake)
– the Screaming Carrot (pastries)

Volunteers made pizza, scones and marble cakes at the skill-share.

Even though we only gave recipe booklets to people who specifically asked for them, by the end of the give-away all 50 of the 16-page booklets had been distributed, as well as most of the vegan society recipe books we still had!

Shortly following this give-away the Vegan Society also kindly offered to sponsor future events, giving us a small grant to contribute towards protests throughout the rest of the year.

July – Veggie-burger themed!

The July skill-share was a big success, with participants shown how to make cheap and easy veggie burgers: using only some oats, a tin of beans, whatever vegetables they liked and some herbs and spices. See photos at the July Give-away Report

At the give-away food was donated by:

– the Screaming Carrot (pastries)
– Veggies (cakes and veggie burgers)

Volunteers also made vegan pizza, with hot veggie burgers cooked at the give-away itself.

Again, all 50 recipe books were distributed to interested people.

September – Freshers’ Week event.

The September event, outside Nottingham Trent University during their Freshers Week, had very low expenses, with the campaigners taking on board advice from the vegan society in an attempt to lower costs and make the events more sustainable. This led to Catriona Gold, who had recently become involved in the campaign, offering to take responsibility for writing to various companies in order to get free samples for the give-aways. As a result, the amount spent on the give-away itself was only £7!

Food was donated from:

– The Alley Cafe (pizza and burritos)
– Bute Island Foods (Scheese spreads and hard cheese)
– Provamel (soya milk drinks)
– Screaming Carrot (pastries)

With volunteers making pizza and cake.

The give-away was a huge success, with a massive amount of interest from new students.

October – two give-aways, for 10:10 and the International Day of Action Against McDonald’s

To mark 10:10, the vegan chocolate cake recipe from the recipe section of the 10:10 website was distributed at the ‘Stuff of Life’ community festival, which took place the day before 10:10 itself.

The following Friday (15th) a free-food give-away was held outside McDonald’s as part of the international day of action against the corporation. Food was donated by:

– The Screaming Carrot (pastries)
– Veggies (cake)

With volunteers making hot veggie-burgers to distribute outside McDonald’s.

November – National Vegan Month

Rather than doing the usual give-away in Nottingham, members of Nottingham Animal Rights worked with the new Derby Animal Rights group to hold Derby’s first free-food give-away. The event was so successful that the activists were invited to talk about the action on Derby’s local radio station, where the DJ tried the food live on air and encouraged people to buy it!!

In Nottingham itself, members of the campaign helped with Animal Aid’s ‘Food or Friend’ campaign, challenging people’s separation of animals reared as livestock from domestic animals.

December – East Midlands Vegan Festival

As the Council has refused use of the Council House on the Old Market Square, as the 2000 people attending cause “too much wear and tear”, it was agreed to take the East Midlands Vegan Festival to the streets by holding up to 10 Vegan Free Food Give-aways and the same day!

Watch this space for reports, but more importantly get involved!