New York City public schools will be ridding its school cafeterias of meat for “Meatless Mondays” in all public schools in the district beginning in the fall, CNN reports. That means that 1.1 million kids in the district will become vegetarians for the day, once per week, at least for as long as they’re at school.
Last spring, “Meatless Mondays” were given a chance in 15 schools across the city in a pilot program. It appears to have been a success, as Big Apple Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today that the program will now be in place in all public schools in the city beginning with the fall 2019 term. Specifically, all breakfasts and lunches served on Mondays will be devoid of meat.
In a press conference, de Blasio said that that the move makes sense, not just for the schoolchildren’s health, but for the environment.
“Cutting back on meat a little will improve New Yorkers’ health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We’re expanding Meatless Mondays to all public schools to keep our lunch and planet green for generations to come.”
De Blasio isn’t the only New York City official who is on board with the idea of Meatless Mondays. Staten Island Borough President James Oddo said the program could possibly combat childhood obesity, which is at epidemic levels in the United States.
“Look at the data. Look at the childhood obesity. Look at pre-diabetes diagnoses. Look at the fact that 65% of American kids age 12 to14 shows signs of early cholesterol disease. Then, perhaps you will embrace the fact that we can’t keep doing things the same way, including welcoming the idea of Meatless Mondays.”
New York public schools will have "Meatless Mondays" starting this fall https://t.co/zqkPxLeIZ4— CNN (@CNN) March 12, 2019
It remains unclear, as of this writing, if “Meatless Mondays” means that the offerings will be totally vegan – that is, completely devoid of all animal products, such as dairy and egg – or just free of meat.
Kids who aren’t into the idea of eschewing meat on Mondays will still be allowed to bring lunches containing meat from home if they so desire.
New York City isn’t the only public school system in the country to offer Meatless Mondays at some of their schools. According to the advocacy group that promotes the program, Meatless Mondays are a thing in at least 100 school districts across the country, including Los Angeles, Sarasota, Albuquerque, Miami-Dade County, and others. The program has been in place in some schools since 2003, says the advocacy group.