On Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña joined Brooklyn’s borough president, Eric Adams, to announce the launch of a Meatless Monday pilot program in 15 Brooklyn schools. Beginning this spring, the schools will serve an exclusively vegetarian breakfast and lunch every Monday to 7,500 students. Menus will include tasty choices like crispy tofu, black bean quesadillas, and roasted chickpea tagine.
Over 300,000 more vegetarian meals will be served in public schools under the new program this year. This will not only spare countless animals from lives of extreme abuse and neglect at factory farms and slaughterhouses but also give children a foundation in healthy, humane, and sustainable eating.
Students themselves campaigned for the program. Now it has the potential to expand throughout the nation’s largest school district, which feeds almost 1 million kids each day. The announcement came in the courtyard of PS 1—one of five NYC schools already serving an exclusively vegetarian lunch every day of the week.
“We understand that there is a climate crisis and an obesity crisis,” the mayor said. “Both of these crises can be meaningfully addressed by adopting more of a plant-based diet.” He, his family, and his events staff at Gracie Mansion will also be going meatless on Mondays.
“We’re going to look back on this day and reflect on the changing direction of not only Brooklyn, not only New York, but the entire country and the entire globe,” said Borough President Eric Adams. Adams is an outspoken vegan who reversed his Type 2 diabetes through a plant-based diet two years ago.
Currently over 50 school districts nationwide observe Meatless Monday, and vegan options at schools have been on the rise for years. Earlier this year Los Angeles Unified School District rolled out a vegan pilot program to offer more plant-based lunch options to students.
Animal agriculture not only tortures billions of animals every year; the industry is also a leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions; habitat loss; and major health problems, such as heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. Mercy For Animals applauds New York officials for advocating a plant-based diet as the simplest and most effective solution to these problems.
Hopefully lawmakers around the country will take a cue from the Big Apple and put meat reduction on the agenda—and certainly not waste taxpayer money trying to stop Meatless Monday, as one ag-friendly lawmaker did last year.
Fortunately, each of us can take action every time we sit down to eat. Visit ChooseVeg.com to learn how.