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The Vegetarian World Forum

THE VEGETARIAN No. 1 Vol. 3 - SPRING 1949 pp.31-32

Peter Freeman, M P

Where do vegetarians go for their holidays? Why not see for yourself some of the advantages which a Guest House run on strictly vegetarian lines can offer? You are thus actively supporting a noble and worthy cause and giving practical encouragement to those who have often made great sacrifices to provide the facilities you want.

The Vegetarian Guest House Association was formed in 1946 to further the cause of vegetarianism, to safeguard and promote the interests of vegetarian Guest Houses in Great Britain, and to collaborate and co-operate with any other organisations promoting the principles of vegetarianism.

There are about one hundred such Guest Houses which cater for vegetarians, but some do not do so exclusively, or strictly in accordance with its principles. They have not all joined the V.G.H.A., and, of course, only those whose proprietors are themselves vegetarians and agree to serve only such food as is strictly vegetarian are eligible for membership. They also generally recommend and practise teetotalisn, and non-smoking, but these are not always insisted on.

The Association is anxious to be of the greatest possible help to the Cause of Vegetarianism to promote the highest standard of efficiency in the Guest Houses of its membership, and be of service to individual vegetarians and food reformers. But with a pioneer movement appealing only to about one in five thousand of the population, the difficulties facing us are considerable.

Most of these Guest Houses are being run on very modest lines by vegetarians who have undertaken this service as a contribution to this ideal - sometimes as a hobby, sometimes because they have a suitable house available, sometimes because of a devotion to a religious movement, but generally with very limited capital or financial means.

Vegetarians who visit these Guest Houses often hold very definite views themselves and many are diet experts - or perhaps suffering in health and require special and individual consideration. This materially adds to the difficulties as compared with an ordinary catering establishment, where most who come in "eat anything" and seem perfectly content with "boiled beef and two veg., suet pudding and coffee from a tin"!!

In addition, many vegetarians and food reformers do not even go to Guest Houses specially catering for them, but ask that a vegetarian diet be provided wherever they go. Most establishments can thus cater for everybody and still further adversely affect the competition.

The problems of adequate food supplies, efficient staff, the high standards of hygienic and other social conditions demanded by the vegetarian further add to the difficulties.

Questions, such as "Provision for Children," "Pets," "Cancelled Visits," the issue of a full list of members, annual subscriptions, collective advertising, contact with Health Food Suppliers, the use of an Emblem, and many other matters, were all under careful consideration at recent Conferences at Manchester and Bournemouth.

Our next Annual Meeting will be held in March,when all vegetarian Guest House proprietors will be welcome to attend, though, of course, only those who are full members will be entitled to vote. Full particulars may be obtained from the Hon. Secretary, "Mercury House," 43 Lancaster Grove, London, N.W.3.

Our Association is determined to do every thing that is possible to provide the best service under the existing circumstances. We are affiliating with the Travel Association, so as to be in touch with vegetarians all over the world. We are joining the National Council of Educational Catering, which has promised to endeavour to arrange a special course for training vegetarian cooks and to give instruction in vegetarian cooking to all its trainees.

The Secretaries of each of the two principal Vegetarian Societies are on our Executive Committee, and have been most helpful in their advice and suggestions.

Several meetings have been-held, and the recent week-end Conferences at Manchester and Bournemouth gave us full opportunities reviewing the whole situation.

Suggestions will at all times be most welcome from guests or proprietors, and it is hoped that every Guest House which is eligible will apply for membership and so help the cause we have at heart.

Vegetarian Guest Houses always welcome those who are NOT generally vegetarians and all interested in diet reform, and will always be pleased to demonstrate some of the many advantages of a vegetarian diet, and to advice and to give advice and suggestions to enquirers and visitors.

Your help and interest will be cordially appreciated.


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