With unanimous support, California governor Jerry Brown signed state bill 1138 mandating every hospital, healthcare facility, and prison offer “at least one plant-based meal option.” The bill, written by Senator Nancy Skinner was signed May 31st, 2018 and seeks to provide those unable to prepare their own food with the option to follow their ethical, dietary, or health-related choices. The bill also comes at a time when California is aggressively pushing to meet its climate and water protection targets, to which plant-based foods can contribute significantly.
Private enterprise giants like WeWork have shown environmental leadership with bans on meat; civil society continues to propagate plant-based diets, and now the world’s 5th largest economy has passed legislation across its vast network of institutions promoting plant foods. This landmark bill displays California’s leadership, as well as sends a strong message to its fellow C40 Cities peers, but will this novel legislation become the norm? Moreover, if California is able to collect and display positive climate, economic, and health impacts of the bill, what reasons would fellow cities have against implementing such mandates?