It’s the Meatless Monday movement’s 10th Birthday! Celebrate with a veggie burger and delicious kale chips. The Meatless Monday campaign, created in 2003 by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and The Monday Campaigns, has become a growing movement throughout the nation. The campaign encourages people to cut meat consumption in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, cut the risk of some diseases, and reduce obesity rates among American children.
The campaign is active in schools across the nation, many working towards a healthier image for young children. Research shows that children must be presented with an item 10 to 15 times before they’ll accept a new kind of food, says Scott Richardson, policy analyst for anti-hunger group Project Bread. That means that those kale chips we know and love might look unappetizing next to the cheese pizza kids are accustomed to. However, involving parents and teachers into the Meatless Monday program seems to be the best way to create healthy habits.
At San Diego Unified school, the district’s food services chief, Gary Petill, said, “We are excited about getting our students interested in healthy eating habits…We also want to get the word out to parents that our food is good. It’s not like when I was a kid.”
He adds that more students are requesting vegetarian and vegan dishes at school. And as part of a broader initiative to teach children about good nutrition, San Diego Unified plans to offer lessons on healthy eating to students and parents. A five-year, $750,000 federal grant will cover the cost of nutrition education programs, teacher training, and demonstration kitchens where parents can get cooking lessons. That’s some good eats.
The movement also reaches many colleges and universities. Knox College in Illinois has recently implemented the program after a successful test run. Student Senate Sustainability Chair Nora McGinn said, “Meatless Monday is a great event that helps raise awareness about the meat industry, diverts student spending away from this unsustainable industry for at least one day, and starts a meaningful dialogue on campus about sustainability, [food and spending] choices, workers’ rights and privilege among other things.” The dining services at the college remain neutral, a common response at the university level.
Need more of an incentive to take the meatless monday challenge? Celebrities are doing it. Here’s the short list: President Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres and Rev. Al Sharpton, and athletes like Carl Lewis, Venus Williams, and Tony Gonzalez.
Interested in getting Meatless Mondays started at your school or office? Visit the Meatless Monday website and learn how to start a campaign.
Watch the amazing video below that gives you The WHO, WHAT, HOW, WHY, and WHERE on Meatless Mondays….yeah!