There is an ever-growing social shift towards climate-conscious consumption that supports domestic produce. But with parsnips imported from Spain, red cabbage from Poland and shallots from the Netherlands, consumers looking to support local farms may not even realise they are neglecting local growers.
Award-winning and plant-based Louise Palmer-Masterton tells us more;
“Consumers are led to believe that their weekly shop is full of British grown produce. The reality is that in the UK we are dangerously reliant on imported foods and neglect the struggling industry here on our doorstep.”
A key activist within the U.K.’s plant-based movement, Louise leads the charge to save our farms with their multiple award-winning plant-based restaurant chain Stem & Glory. The vegan brand is throwing out the book when it comes to menus, replacing it with their own full of recipes that reimagine the way British produce can be used to create delicious and nutritional meals. Soon to be available to the public, the book is more than a collection of recipes, it is a call to arms to the public to get back out there and save our local growers.
“UK agriculture is so broken; you need to stick your head out to get perspective. Farmers have become so squeezed by supermarkets that they must chase consumer demand just to make ends meet. By introducing a new menu that makes the most of home-grown food, we will put that demand back on the farmers that have supported us all for so long.”
By substituting chickpeas with British yellow peas, rice for whole oats, and using British grown lentils, Louise hopes to educate that local produce can operate as superfoods that also support the dwindling UK agricultural scene.
Opening their first branch in Cambridge in 2016, Stem & Glory went on to open their flagship London store in 2019 following their 2018 record breaking ‘Crowd Cube’ crowdfunding campaign achieving their £350,000 target in only 5 hours – the fastest crowdfund restaurant in history at the time. Raising over £700,000 for both sites, the incredibly popular Stem & Glory now has plans for a third site in London’s Broadgate in 2022.
The rapid of the brand overall can be attributed to an exponential shift in attitudes towards plant-based cuisine. More and more of us are growing conscious of leading more ethical lifestyles, with talks of sustainability, animal welfare and veganism featuring heavily in our everyday conversations. Researchers at Oxford University conducted a study last year which concluded that eating a vegan diet is the single biggest way to reduce your environmental impact on the Earth – this is more than reducing the amount of flights you take or switching to an electric vehicle.
Stem & Glory was celebrated as one of the Government’s ‘Heroes of Net Zero’ at the COP26 awards ceremony and aims to continue playing a part in building a better world with its passionate founder Louise Palmer-Masterton also named Entrepreneur of the Year at the Cambridge Independent SME Awards 2021. Louise is passionate about spreading this message not only in the restaurants but by talking and working with local producers and business groups. ‘Arguably, the best way we can win hearts and minds to tackling climate change and supporting UK agriculture is by never underestimating the contribution that an individual business can play.’
VeggieVision TV founder and her guest Julia thoroughly enjoyed their visit to Stem & Glory at Barts Square London.
“Sitting at the chefs table was great fun as we can see them team preparing everyones meals – and always good to see what each dish looks like – especially at a vegan restaurant! We start with a side of “Pickles & ferments” which we absolutely love and great value at just £4. The Szechuan Aubergine and Kimchi Rice is delicious however not on their menu at the moment. It is rich and we decide to bring some home. From our front row seats we can see that the “Dirty Burger” is a firm favourite although this is something we will have next time.
Desserts do not disappoint either although with their generous portions, some delicious drinks and their fat chips on the side it wasn’t an easy job to finish everything off!
Visiting Stem & Glory is next level vegan cuisine – a lovely atmosphere and fresh vegan choices with something for everyone. I simply can not wait to go back.”