Finland has always been a leader when it comes to public meals – in 1948, it was the first country in the world to require free meals in all schools. Now Helsinki, which serves meals to 50,000 students a day, is leading the way when it comes to vegetarian school meals.
Vegetarian menu items have been required in school meals in since 2007. Since 2010, school canteens have had one dedicated vegetarian day a week, and in 2015, this went up to twice a week. This shift was controversial when it was first proposed, but just a year after the policy was instituted, over two-thirds of Helsinki residents thought it was a good idea – a great example of how programs like this can change minds about plant-based diets!
The Helsinki schools have shown this can work! Now Helsinki should try it out in other public canteens.
Greenpeace’s global challenge:
Our supporters are challenging cities to race to the top on meat reduction to protect our climate, forests and water. We aim to have at least 20 cities commit to serving two vegetarian meals (no meat or dairy options) in all public canteens weekly by the end of 2018. We expect to have at least 100 global cities make this or a greater commitment toward less and better meat and more plant based meals by 2020.