15 public schools in Brooklyn will begin offering all-vegetarian menus on Mondays next spring.
Chicken nuggets and sloppy joes may be school lunch staples, but research continues to show that too much meat consumption can be bad for both people’s health and the environment, so the city of New York has decided to take a typically progressive approach by introducing “Meatless Mondays” at 15 of the city’s public schools.
New York City isn’t alone in adopting the idea of a meat-free start to the week. The concept comes courtesy of The Monday Campaigns—a group associated with The Lerner Centers for Public Health Promotion at Johns Hopkins, Columbia and Syracuse universities—that works to reduce the health risks and environmental impact of meat consumption. The campaign specifically targets Mondays because research “shows Monday as the day people are most primed to start and sustain a healthy new behavior.” Originally launched in 2003, Meatless Monday has also seen recent support in other places like Pittsburgh and Sacramento.
In New York, Meatless Mondays will initially launch as a pilot program in 15 public schools in Brooklyn, providing these schools “with healthy, all-vegetarian breakfast and lunch menus every Monday” beginning next spring, according to the mayor’s office. If this initial program proves successful, the city’s entire public school district could potentially be added in the future.
To help support the initiative, Mayor Bill de Blasio, First Lady Chirlane McCray and their Gracie Mansion residence have all committed to going meatless on Mondays as well. “Cutting back a little on meat will help make our city healthier and our planet stronger for generations to come,” Mayor de Blasio said in a statement. “Chirlane and I are excited to participate in Meatless Mondays at home.”
Meanwhile, Sid Lerner, founder of The Monday Campaigns, was obviously excited to have the mayor of America’s largest city on board. "We're thrilled that NYC schools will participate in Meatless Monday to introduce kids to delicious plant-based options that can create healthy eating habits for life,” he said.