Lunches in the cafeteria at Sutherland Secondary School on Mondays are looking a little different than the typical high school cafeteria food. In addition to the regular menu, a Monday vegetarian special is being offered, including items such as Mexican bean burritos, Mediterranean chickpea salad, tofu fried rice and lentil vegetable curry with rice. The transformation of the school's Monday menu is the result of a student-led initiative to introduce Meatless Mondays.
Meatless Mondays is a project spearheaded by the Vancouver Humane Society. It is aimed at increasing awareness about the impact of food choices and improving access to humane, healthy and sustainable food options. To date, ten schools across Metro Vancouver have embraced the 'once a week, cut the meat' message, with the most recent being Sutherland Secondary. Sutherland launched their cafeteria campaign with the leadership of their new Meatless Monday club, comprised of students who are passionate about the impact eating meatless has on pressing issues like factory farming, climate change and individual and public health.
Sutherland's Meatless Monday club got its start after students learned that Capilano University was implementing the meat reduction initiative with support from Vancouver Humane Society. Meatless Monday Program Coordinator, Emily Pickett, was thrilled to help Sutherland's Meatless Monday club bring the campaign to their cafeteria. Just a couple of months in and the club has worked closely with food service provider, Amaga Foods, to add and promote delicious vegetarian menu items.
"Our club does regular outreach in our school's cafeteria to help raise awareness of Meatless Monday, the benefits of participating and what meatless options are on the menu," said club organizers Naiara Peruchena and Shiqi Xu. "We are thrilled to see sales of the meatless Monday specials steadily increase and we think this initiative is important for helping students become more aware of what's on their plate and the impact that has beyond their plate."
Others in the Metro Vancouver community are taking notice of this impressive student-led effort. The City of North Vancouver and the City of Vancouver have proclaimed Monday, May 15, 2017 to be Meatless Monday. For more information on the initiative, visit: http://www.vancouverhumanesociety.bc.ca/meatless-monday-is-on-the-move/