NEW YORK (FOX5NY) - More than a dozen Brooklyn schools are going to serve all-vegetarian meals on Mondays in a new program the mayor claims will make the city healthier.
The program is called Meatless Mondays and will take place at 15 schools starting in the spring. The schools will serve all-vegetarian breakfast and lunch menus every Monday. Which schools that will participate have not been determined.
This initiative builds off the plant-based health advocacy of Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, who has committed himself to combating poor nutrition following his successful battle against Type 2 diabetes last year.
In 2015, less than 20% of NYC children aged 6-12 ate 5 or more fruits and vegetables a day. Eating fruits and vegetables provides vitamins and nutrients and can reduce the risk for heart disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity.
The mayor also claims that Meatless Mondays can also help reduce carbon footprint and preserve resources like water. City officials cited statistics that say that approximately 1,850 gallons of water are needed to produce a single pound of beef, while only 39 gallons of water are needed to produce a pound of vegetables.
The announcement was made at PS 1 in Sunset Park, one of five schools in New York City currently serving an exclusively vegetarian menu. The Peck Slip School in Manhattan and The Active Learning Elementary School in Queens, as well as two non-public schools – Hanson Place Seventh-day Adventist Elementary School and the R.T. Hudson Seventh-day Adventist School – also participate in the program. These schools serve a variety of options including spinach wraps, vegetarian chili, roasted chickpea tagine, black bean quesadillas, crispy tofu, zucchini parmigiana, and margherita pizza.
Meatless Mondays is also part of the city’s ongoing effort to ensure every student is provided with a free lunch.
“The new Meatless Mondays pilot program in Brooklyn schools is a great step forward for the City of New York in the movement to make our food system more humane," said Matt Bershadker, President and CEO of the ASPCA.
Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States says, “It sets them on a course to pursue healthier lifestyles, while also promoting the value of sustainability and more humane treatment of animals.”