Lately, the New York public school system has been on a roll with its feeding programs. Since its city council decided to offer free cafeteria lunches, there are now also options for vegans.
The upcoming vegan food options range from Mexicali Chili to Lentil Stew, to Zesty BBQ Crunchy Tofu — all which sounds pretty like a big improvement from conventional school lunches which are often highly processed meats or fried food.
Behind the movement is the Coalition for Health School Food, which has also helped three NYC schools go completely vegetarian. The vegan choices will allow food autonomy to children as well as lower their carbon footprint. While many parents have expressed concern over vegan diets, research can put their minds at ease.
The British Dietetic Association (BDA) have recently confirmed that “they believe a well-planned vegan diet ‘supports healthy living in people of all ages’ including ‘during pregnancy and breastfeeding.’”
Of course, students will be given the freedom to choose their own meals. Though a typical second-grader may be more privy to chicken nuggets, encouraging a side of vegetables may not be too difficult.
America’s favorite sandwich is, without question, the classic burger. Despite every Mickey D regular’s praise of the tasty quarter pounder, few know what goes on behind the scenes. That isn’t, of course, the case for cattle farmers, and some opt to grow veggies after being in the know-how. Rancher Jay Wilde recently joined the vegan farming community when he couldn’t slaughter his cows.
“We did [our] best to look after them [the cattle], but you knew you were going to betray them. You really couldn’t look them in the eye.”
The 172-acre Derbyshire farm is a family heirloom. Committed vegetarian Wilde, as we all do, hopes his father would’ve been proud. Along with wife Katja, Wilde sent 70 of his cattle to a sanctuary in Norfolk. The remaining 12 are now family pets.
“What we were doing worked in the past, but it’s no longer fit for purpose really. It consumes too many resources, it’s morally indefensible if you think animals are anything more than meat.”
Vegans have applauded the dynamic duo, whose cattle still contribute to a flourishing ecosystem. Beef may make for a tasty meal, but to Wilde they’re just as loyal as any pup.
Being vegan isn’t simply a fashion statement, but a lifestyle and occasional healthy pick. If you haven’t caught on to the trend, it’s taking over schools and even TGI Fridays. In light of the recent “legume boom” studies have shown an increase in meat substitutes by 451% in just four years.
“The most active region was the United Kingdom, with a share of 19 % of total new legume-inclusive product launches in Europe, followed by France (14%) and Germany (13%),”
Where quantity rose, diversity followed, with markets boasting over 27,000 new products. To be perfectly honest, I can hardly name a dozen vegetables — quite the bummer for a vegetarian such as myself. But why legumes, in particular?
Legumes are more filling than meat, better for your waist and the planet. Consuming legumes is associated with a lower risk of diabetes and heart disease, while being cheaper and requiring far less energy and water than meat.
Sure, vegetarianism is healthy, but it’s also environmentally responsible. If you can’t slash bacon from your daily menu, have a carrot. It won’t kill you.
Schools around the world have played a role in the battle against depleting resources. The Panyaden International School in Thailand built a sports hall that gloats a zero-carbon footprint. Now, the German International School in India is shifting to strictly vegan lunches.
The school, now 100% vegan, makes its own mock meat, produces vegan cheese from cashews, and bakes its own bread. Care is taken to see that nutritional requirements are met, by substituting animal products with protein-rich food such as quinoa, lentils, seitan, beans and hemp seeds.
The shift was prompted when the school began rehabilitating injured and abandoned animals. Besides the guilt of consuming mutton meters away from one of the school’s goats, administration believed veganism was more ethical.
“We wanted to reduce the human impact on the environment and eating less meat is the simplest way,”
To prepare for the transition, teachers dedicated classes to informative documentaries. Staff treated parents to a vegan buffet, which was more “delicious and nutritious” than expected. With avocado toast becoming the next millennial craze, I can’t imagine getting teens to up their veggie intake to be too much of a stretch.
Despite the running jokes about them, vegans set an example for those looking to become more sustainable. This cattle farmer raised beef cows for a living until he decided to rescue 59 of them and grow vegetables instead. Now, the British sports industry is looking to go green, erecting its first vegan football club.
Meat is banned and all the cuisine is vegan. The pitch is kept lush with captured rainwater, the paint contains no chemicals, and 20 percent of the energy comes from solar panels on the roofs of the stands.
The Forest Green Rovers stadium even boasts charging ports for electric vehicles. As for food, groundsmen are going “beyond organic.”
“We can’t just use organics. We don’t use anything that’s derived of an animal,”
“With regards to getting the nutrients, and especially with athletes, it’s not hard to get that amount of protein,”
Dale Vince, Chairman of Forest Green and founder of green electricity company Ecotricity, hopes to open an eco park with a new stadium in the coming years. While fans aren’t too hot about the food choices at the Forest Green New Lawn stadium, they do commend the effort. My suggestion? Green is great, but don’t forget the beer!
Most charitable industries will donate a portion of their earnings to those in need. While it’s an admirable feat, some groups work exclusively to provide others with food and supplies. In fact, an organic farm in New York exists solely for soup kitchens across the state. This vegan restaurant is no different.
All the profits from P.S. Kitchen are reportedly being donated to charities with missions to disrupt the poverty cycle… [Owner] DeRossi’s new cocktail bar Coup donates all of its profits to organizations threatened by the Trump administration.
Menu items are, of course, plant-based and dairy-free. The “P.S.” aspect of the establishment’s name also denotes something deeper.
“This is more than a restaurant and the postscript reflects that there is more to the story. PS: We donate all profits to charitable organizations. PS: We hire staff from underprivileged backgrounds. PS: All food and drink is plant-based.”
The concept itself is clever and very promising. I only hope its food can talk the talk and walk the walk.