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.