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The café takes its name from Reverend William Cowherd who lived in Salford over 200 years ago. His church group held congregation in the ironically named Beefsteak Chapel, which was located on what’s now Queen St.
It was from the church sermons that the first ideas of vegetarianism in Britain were formed, as Cowherd’s congregation were meat free from 1809. He was very supportive of his parishioners and was known to give them piping hot vegetable soup, medical help and a free burial in the Beefsteak Chapel graveyard.
“If God had meant us to eat meat, then it would have come to us in edible form as is the ripened fruit.”
– Rev. William Cowherd.
Although Cowherd died in 1816 his influence in Salford remained. The Vegetarian Society was founded in 1847 by his successor at Beefsteak Chapel, Joseph Brotherton – whose wife, Maria, published the first vegetarian cook book in 1832. The vegetarian movement was quick to grow in popularity throughout the early the 1800s, as some prominent figures were starting to suggest that the evils of the Victorian era were a direct result of eating meat.
The Vegetarian Society is the oldest group of its kind in the world and is still based in the area.
With a passion for food and a love of animals, Paula Maguire founded Cowherds café with the aim of promoting veganism and a healthy lifestyle. Paula was diagnosed with a potentially life-changing disease called ulcerative colitis 13 years ago.
However, since becoming vegan and making changes to her lifestyle, Paula no longer needs to take medication for her condition. This has significantly improved her physical and emotional wellbeing.
Proud to be born in Salford, Paula wanted to stick to her roots and open a space offering great vegan food in the city she loves. With a background in health and wellbeing, being a qualified NLP practitioner, Motivational Interviewing Coach and Juice Therapist; Paula now leads a team to run the Cowherds wagon, offering healthy workshops and juice deliveries to the community in and around Salford.
After four years of planning the Cowherds pop-up café was launched at the start of 2014. The venture was Paula’s idea after her life was rejuvenated when she started a healthy diet. As a juice therapist she fully understands how to make the most of fruit and veg.
In the past eight months we have been involved with a number of community projects. We are especially proud of spending three months with the mental health charity blueSCI for our first pop-up café, at the start of the year. Since then we have worked with City West Housing Association, providing food delivery to residents who can’t get to the shops.
Cowherds has also supported the award winning Sow The City initiative around Manchester. To help the campaign we gave outside cooking demonstrations and shared recipes with local people.
“We are always looking to get involved in more community activities and have some exciting projects lined up for the coming months.”