The NEO Sierra Club would like to thank you for taking leadership positions on climate change and making commitments to improve energy efficiency at the local level! Out of concern for agricultural issues, we’re sending information packets to municipal leaders with the REMINDER: Please DO NOT overlook agriculture/food in your emissions reductions plans.
Enclosed is the Cleveland Meatless Monday Resolution. It’s a quick read, detailing why appropriately planned meat-reduction adjustments are a necessary and welcome component of environmental stewardship. Institutions with large food services are able to make a big difference, so we hope the enclosed information prepares you to take helpful action and introduce the Meatless Monday concept to schools and hospital systems.
Several factors make dedicated-days like Meatless Monday & Factory Farm Free Friday attractive, productive, and feel-good programs for emissions-reductions. Enjoying tasty, balanced, plant-strong meals is the main crux and requires no costly green-technology installations. When food services replace a proportion of animal products with plant foods, it supports energy efficiency in agriculture, water conservation, and healthier land use practices employed by smaller farmers. Don’t feel bad about a changing food budgets: agribusiness polluters like Monsanto, Cargill, Tyson, and Smithfield have made billions dominating the factory farm supply-chain. The prevalence of their chemicals in the environment has made them unpopular. Reducing reliance on factory farmed products gives the livestock industry a signal that we oppose the overuse of antibiotics. It’s an active step toward protecting water quality from nitrogen and phosphorus runoff that causes aquatic deadzones.
You may have heard that the share of greenhouse gas emissions attributed to livestock production equal to that from transportation. Clearly, we cannot afford to ignore the “cow in the room” if we’re serious about curbing emissions. Though dietary diversification, a real collective impact is possible. Several environmental & health NGOs have joined Sir Paul McCartney, the Humane Society, and Johns Hopkins school of Public Health in supporting Meatless Monday, Factory Farm Free Friday is a project of Organic Consumers Association, and is worth a look to support healthy farm products that reduce emissions. It’s an exciting slate of solutions!!
And for health, dedicating a whole day to celebrate plant based meals highlights these meals which science shows millions of Americans can use strategically to avert disease risks associated with Heart Disease and Diabetes. The prevalence of these health scourges indicates that every impetus for change is vitally important.
Please take this opportunity make Meatless Monday a healthy part of your strategies moving forward. Recommending it to food services and civic groups really make an easy impact at this critical time. We’ve compiled several resources (printed on the opposite side) to help schools and institutions cook meatless meals in volume that meet USDA nutrition guidelines.
- The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine’s toolkit helps food service professionals introduce vegetarian meals while maintaining USDA requirements. http://pcrm.org/pdfs/health/School_Lunch_Guide.pdf
- The USDA and Let’s Move! created this collection of 30 kid-approved recipes featuring vegetables, dry beans and peas, and whole grains.
- The Humane Society of the US has so much to share like Interviews and success stories from institutional food service managers serving meatless meals. There is guidance and recipes to help K-12 cafeterias, University dining services, Hospital systems, etc. make the tastiest Meatless Monday meals possible. http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/eating/facts/meatless_monday_toolkits.html
Toolkit for Hospitals: http://www.humanesociety.org/assets/pdfs/farm/meatless_mondays_toolkit_hospitals.pdf
- Good news and reports about meat-reduction going mainstream can be found on Facebook Like page “Agricultural Progress”. On Twitter @MeatlessMonday and @MeatFreeMonday post phenomenal recipes and updates to propel local and National observance!
- firstname.lastname@example.org is the Humane Society professional w/ all the helpful posters and pointers anyone at these institutions can contact for free guidance on smooth implementation of Meatless Monday. Know that lots of very hard working and caring Americans support efforts like this and will be elated to hear of progress because it impacts health, environment, and animals.
PDF Files are the actual Resolution passed by Cleveland! Read the refreshing Agricultural awareness demonstrated by public officials and rejoice!
Press release Oct 4th 2014:
City of Cleveland encourages residents to participate in Meatless Mondays
Natural resource conservation, public health, and numerous agricultural and animal welfare issues, are cited in Cleveland City councils resolution encouraging residents to eat more plant-based, vegetarian meals and supporting the International movement for Meatless Mondays.
The resolution was introduced by Ward 3 Councilman Joe Cimperman, a proponent of local foods who helped develop Healthy Cleveland guidelines for city agencies.In recent months Cimperman also sponsored a resolution to address the overuse of antibiotics in animal agriculture calling for regulatory measures with the group Food and Water Watch. Supporters of Meatless Monday and Food and Water Watch contacted Cimpermans office about Meatless Monday as a way to address the same problem by encouraging dietary diversity with more vegetarian foods. A supporter with in the group NE Ohio Meatless Monday Coalition, Jeremy Koosed of Lyndhurst, says “After hearing Sir Paul McCartney’s sincere endorsement of Meatless Monday, and seeing other cities and school districts around the Nation get behind it, it seems like something a great many Northeast Ohioans can find value in.”
Cleveland boasts several popular vegetarian, vegan and raw businesses, and lots of Ethnic and Americana restaurants with extensive vegetarian menu sections. The FoodBank of Greater Cleveland started cooking only Meatless meals on Monday, serving 7,000 nutrient dense meals to seniors and children. At another local institution, Cleveland Clinic Heart MDs recommend eating more meatless meals to affirm heart health, which is noted in the resolution. According to Dr Roxanne Sukol, an MD in Preventative Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Wellness Institute “Intact carbohydrates are those with an intact fiber matrix. These include vegetables, fruits, beans and whole grains. The more intact carbs you include in your diet, the more nutritious it will be. Because every nutrient has its own color, the more colorful your plate, the more nutrients you can be sure you’re getting.”
The resolution got specific in several areas, calling out Animal agriculture as a vast expenditure of water and fossil fuels, a key driver of biodiversity loss from mono-cropping GMO chemical-dependent feed crops, and deforestation for grazing. While State environmental groups call for regulatory measures to reduce hazards like manure runoff in the wake of Toledo’s water crisis, Koosed notes that “Cleveland is right to seek a multi-pronged approach. As individuals with appetites, we can make a big difference even with a modest adjustment to introduce more plant protein sources into our diet. Taking a weekly holiday from meat, may seem like a sacrifice for hard-core meat eaters so efforts like MM just help at least know that it’s a valuable sacrifice and could be a tasty, health-boosting weekly ritual.”
It’s a practice the HSUS states could spare 1 Billion animals if Americans went Meatless on Monday. [HSUS press release attached]
The resolution does not bind any public institutions to go meatless on Monday in food services, but suggests that individuals doing so would be a good idea and dovetail with numerous other local health and sustainability priorities.
Ohio Watershed connection:
Recent actions by the state legislature to address agricultural runoff have dealt only with nitrogen fertilizers, requiring a certification course for those applying fertilizers. Other federal expenditures have been allocated to plant cover crops in NW Ohio and update sewer systems. State Sen. Edna Brown, (D-Toledo) introduced a bill that would add manure to the fertilizers covered in the certification program.
Pro-vegetarian and water quality groups in Ohio have recently sent a letter to state officials requesting broader agency support that boosts plant based food options that have nothing to do with factory farms or manure runoff.
Meanwhile, Meatless Monday supporters have passed similar resolutions in cities like Philadelphia, San Jose, and school systems are adopting it, especially in Western states experiencing record droughts. The Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in Baltimore and the Humane Society of the US are among the prominent promoters of the movement Nationally. And in the UK Sir Paul McCartney is working with the Climate Adviser to PM David Cameron to encourage people to take the Meat Free Monday Pledge. On Social media, the #meatlessmonday hashtag accompanies recipes from all sorts of publications and organizations, not just vegetarian clubs.
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