The veggie guy...

Richard Ainsworth, 25, fundraising events coordinator

The veggie guy...

I turned vegetarian at around 18 or 19, although it was a gradual thing for me. I was at university, and the smell of student junk food began to put me off eating meat. It wasn't hard to give it up. Besides, it's obviously much more environmentally friendly to not eat it.

'Typically, I'll have three scrambled eggs for breakfast, maybe a baked potato for lunch, and a big bowl of pasta in the evening. I like beans and vegetable stews a lot. I'm not so keen on "mock" vegetarian food, like veggie sausages. During the day I'll graze on lots of nuts and pumpkin seeds and carrot sticks. I exercise a lot – about 10 miles a day cycling to and from work, plus four days at the 
gym every week – so need a lot of protein and 
carbs in my diet.

'I share a house with guys who are all meat-eaters, and while I might get the odd chicken breast wafted in my face or offered a "nice juicy steak" now and then, it's all in good humour. I'm from the country and have a farming background, so I understand that cattle farming is in our history and culture and I'm not looking to change that.

'For me, working for the Trees for Cities charity, it's important to make people aware of their surroundings and where their food comes from. One of the projects I help out on is Edible Playgrounds – working with schools to encourage kids to plant trees and grow and eat their own foods. Watching them get their hands dirty, learn how a carrot is grown and understand how it benefits the environment is great. I think we've lost touch with food that isn't mass produced or flown in from overseas, and a lot of our seasonality has gone. Trying to put a little bit of that back is something I find very rewarding.'

www.treesforcities.org

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