Use our Images here to inspire action!! The USDA responded to this letter!! see —–>
Refer to our letter to USDA Secretary Vilsack for SEVERAL bullet points that make case for Meatless Monday menu items when you engage School Boards, University food services, Hospital food services, Representatives, City councils, Food Policy groups, etc. Convince your local organizations to take up promotion of these days as a project!! You don’t have to be vegetarian, an environmentalist, or a health nut to see how these concerns unite us all.
Dear Secretary Vilsack,
People are concerned about our agricultural system Sir. Please support Meatless Monday as one of the easiest and tastiest things we can do to stabilize each serious agricultural problem we face. Please instruct institutional & public school cafeteria managers on tips to expand availability of plant-based meals. Meals based on grains, veggies, and plant protein sources, with fruits as snacks, nurture healthy farming practices we need. Its not just a chance to serve cheese pizza, but an opportunity to serve balanced meals that provide healthy fiber and clean plant fats.
Here is a quick run-down of agricultural problems, and how instituting a Meat-Free day in cafeterias pro-actively addresses these urgent, defining issues of our time.
Antibiotics– To reduce the overuse of antibiotics, we can overtly shift spending to support foods that have nothing to do with feeding antibiotics to animals. This is a BIG one that needs leadership, Sir.
Manure Runoff – It’s a threat to water quality and a tough-one to regulate. By serving more legumes, nuts, and seeds, or just grains and veggies on Meatless Monday we markedly reduce the amount of manure generated.
Round-up – the news about its prevalence in the environment is alarming. As you know, a lot of Round-up is used to grow feed-crops, like the soy fed to chickens. A slight adjustment with Meatless Monday reduces the need for those feed-crops, and an opportunity arises to serve a more diversified menu with NON-Round-up-ready beans, peas, lentils, nuts, seeds, grains, and veggies.
Energy Efficiency/emissions reductions– Eating Less meat is a step scientifically shown to reduce GHG emissions, reducing the output of particularly heat-trapping gases like methane and nitrous oxide. Conserving fossil fuel for use other than livestock production is smart national security policy and stimulating demand for energy efficient and water efficient agriculture by producing more plants direct for human-consumption builds our resiliency to climate change.
Water Scarcity- Animal agriculture uses a lot of water and a modest effort at dietary diversity like Meatless Monday conserves that water for other uses. At a time when we are burying frack water waste in injection wells forever, the USDA should volunteer to “take one for the team” and support Meatless Monday to demonstrate resource stewardship that can forestall unfortunate complications/drought.
Speed of the Slaughter lines – If Meatless Monday had the affect of slowing down the slaughter lines (particularly for poultry), it would be good for food safety and the welfare of birds that get boiled alive.
Rural Property values/quality of life – CAFOs (Confined Animal Feeding operations) smell and reduce the value of property in their vicinity. Dangerous pathogens leave the CAFOs and these endanger public health as well. By demanding less meat be produced in this fashion through Meatless Monday, we can tone down some of these undesirable affects.
Whatta slew of helpfulness ONE DAY A WEEK can provide! Thank you for considering these!! Lastly, I want to ask: what do you think the “little guy” farmer needs? Because serving factory meat daily in institutional cafeterias supports only a handful of agri-businesses. These Agri-business giants may have a lot of power in Washington DC, but you have a chance to support a healthy legacy at USDA and support smaller farmers by supporting Meatless Monday. The USDA should embrace Meatless Monday, not only as a conservation/emissions-reduction program, but as a crop-diversity plan to support more protein-rich plant foods that many adult Americans are praising for their health-affirming qualities.
Thank you so much for reading my letter and I hope to hear back regarding your feelings on Meatless Monday. I hope you appreciate that I wrote this whole letter without getting emotional about animal cruelty or complaining about the health epidemics facing America. I do hope you appreciate that this could be a popular Day for USDA to embrace wholeheartedly.