Laura Morris-Renouf launched her vegan catering company last year – despite illness and a cancelled festival season. And this Veganuary, she and her vintage caravan are getting out and about once a week, to deliver comforting, ready-to-cook meals
Prior to COVID my life was bonkers, and full throttle. I was working full time, raising two children and setting up Fork Off It’s Vegan (FOIV) and a community project and had a great social life! We had festivals booked in for last summer too, I don’t know how I used to fit it all in! 2020 was a tough year for everyone. Someone said to me ‘we are all in the same storm, just on different ships’ which really resonated with me. I became really unwell in the summer. My body has been in tremor since June, my whole life turned on its head. Sadly, I lost my full-time job due to my disability but…it gives me more time for FOIV! Our plans have changed – and we are moving to meet the current climate. We WILL be gracing festivals as soon as we safely can and for now? We are so excited to be able to offer our delivery service across Suffolk and Norfolk.
I’ve been vegan for about four years now. Several people in my life suggested I open a vegan café, so I started to think. In more normal times I go to a lot of festivals and have always been disappointed by the range of vegan food. I love falafels but, no one wants to eat falafel and/or chips for four days straight! So, I decided to go mobile with Gloria (my vintage caravan), who was named after my childhood pet pig. She has been lovingly converted into a fully functional kitchen! Not a falafel in sight (I’ll save that for the experts) – just delicious vegan comfort foods.
The name ‘Fork Off It’s Vegan’ came from the shock people have when they try something vegan and it’s much better than they expected. Us vegans already know we can get and make awesome food and don’t usually feel like we are missing out, but not everyone does. I want everyone to have the opportunity to try great vegan food whether they are fully vegan or just fancy trying a meat free Monday. The name has been received really well. Lots of people laugh and say they will certainly remember it!
Veganism is the fastest growing social movement globally. It’s also very dear to my own heart. People are going vegan for different reasons: animals, planet and health, or all three! So, in some ways it makes sense. But I think starting any business at this time is difficult. We decided that we needed to find a different way to work, still getting vegan food to the people who want it, hence the local deliveries.
Lockdown is hard. I’m lucky to have my children and partner around at home and have close friends that I talk to regularly that keep me sane(ish)! It has been exciting to get the business started even if it is a little different than our original plan. In the world we live in, I feel that flexibility is so important and changing services to suit the current need is part of that. We started our new delivery service in lockdown, we had to ensure that we are COVID compliant before we started and have been really successful.
My biggest hope is that we can all recover from this together, that our sense of community will be stronger than ever and that we can see the back of COVID. Other than that, I really hope that Gloria makes it to a festival or two this summer and that we can start delivering to more towns/villages across Suffolk and Norfolk.