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?
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