From 2012 to 2015, the city of Oakland, California pioneered an extremely successful program in its elementary schools that was extremely effective at reducing meat consumption and increasing use of organic, more-sustainable meat.
The program, a partnership with Friends of the Earth and the Center for Good Food Purchasing, involved Lean and Green Mondays, with plant based meals and California Thursdays, with foods coming from regional farms. They also reduced meat in other meals – for instance, they replaced half the beef in chili with beans. This allowed schools to spend the savings on organic meat. These simple steps saved the schools $42,000 each year and reduced their carbon footprint by 14%.
Oakland has made great strides with one dedicated vegetarian day each week and reducing meat in other meals. The next step is to add an additional dedicated vegetarian day each week!
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 50 cities commit to serving two vegetarian meals (no meat or dairy options) in all public canteens weekly by the end of 2019. We expect to have at least 100 global cities make this or a greater commitment toward less and better meat and more plant-rich meals by 2020.