Local Group Pushes for Meatless Mondays in Philly Public Schools



Remember last fall when the Philadelphia City Council passed a resolution in support of Meatless Mondays in Philly? The group that helped usher the measure through City Hall is now turning its attention to Philadelphia public schools.

The Philly-based animal rights organization, the Humane League, just launched an initiative urging the School District of Philadelphia to take up the Meatless Monday cause in its own cafeterias. The objective: to get public schools to offer an entire menu of vegetarian options—and only vegetarian options—every Monday, every week of the school year.

The online campaign just launched last week. With support from groups like the Clean Air Council and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, among others, the Humane League is collecting signatures—about 500, so far—from supporters who want to see Meatless Mondays in Philly public schools.

“We heard from a number of parents who said they were really in favor of this campaign,” says the Humane League’s Philadelphia director, Rachel Atcheson, of how the idea got off the ground. “They don’t allow their kids to eat school lunches but said they would consider it if there was a Meatless Monday option.”

Atcheson says her team has met with school district officials to float the idea, but they haven’t made a ton of progress just yet. The Humane League has supplied the District with healthful vegetarian menu suggestions (eight pages worth of recipes, to be precise) as well as contact info for reps in other cities that have successfully implemented Meatless Mondays in their schools.

Getting a full day of meat-free options in Philly schools would be a big change for the District’s menu planners, where things like chicken quesadillas, turkey burrito bowls and chicken nuggets are lunchtime staples. And to be clear, the Humane League isn’t suggesting replacing meat products with processed, filler junk food. (Which, as anyone who’s ever attempted to go vegetarian knows, is all too easy to do. Can you say Oreos?)

“The campaign is a health-centered campaign,” says Atcheson. “It’s aimed at getting cholesterol and saturated fats out of school cafeterias”—starting in Philly, then moving out to the ‘burbs.

Watch the campaign’s video below, then take our poll: Should Philly schools take up Meatless Mondays?

POLL: Should Philly public schools adopt Meatless Mondays?

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  • Joshua Speed

    Here we go with the Nanny state again.

  • David C-H

    So glad to see this happening! I hope that Philly joins the tons of other schools participating in this healthy, green program!

  • ErShava

    Why are they banning meat on monday again? Who are they to decide what the kids eat?

    • Eric

      They are not banning meat. And the School System already decides what kids will eat. For many kids, school meals are the only meals they get each day. At least on Mondays it will be something that’s a little healthier. Im so glad they are doing this!!

      • ErShava

        If the kids cant eat meat on mondays, that means they are banning meat eating on mondays. There should be different food choices so the kids and parents get to decide what to eat. I am glad im not sending my kids to Philadelphia public schools.

  • Kelly Parsons

    Great cause! I remember hearing that Los Angeles and Oakland School Districts went Meatless on Monday, and I think others have too. This definitely makes sense in Philly where we have so much childhood obesity!

  • Joe Midvale

    I wish my school had Meatless Mondays when I was a kid!

  • Denise

    This is a great way to get kids to learn healthier, more environmental friendly eating habits.

  • Aaron

    What an awesome program! I cant wait for it to start so our kids can get healthier options. Healthy food equals healthy productive students.

  • Melissa

    This is great news. I hope students can the learn about the positive impacts on their health and the environment of their food choices

  • Richard Colton

    Why Monday and not Friday?

  • Barbara Donnini

    SO happy this is on the table (no pun intended!) and I hope it passes. If other schools are like the one I attended in the Philadelphia suburbs, the current options are SO unhealthy! This will be good on all fronts – health, environment, and animal welfare.

    We know meat consumption contributes to the nation’s biggest killers – heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzherimer’s to name a few. A great website that links nutrition to disease is nutritionfacts.org

    And meat production pollutes rivers and contributes to climate change. Finally, with 99% of meat coming from factory farms where the animals (sentient beings that can experience the same pain we can) are kept in unimaginably deplorable conditions, Meatless Monday is a no-brainer! Hopefully they will even be able to expand the program beyond Mondays.