Starting in fall 2019, NYC public schools will serve only vegetarian options for breakfast and lunch on Mondays.
1,800 public schools are joining the global movement Meatless Mondays which promotes to cut down meat consumption at least once a week. New York City's Mayor, Bill de Blasio, was encouraged to extend the project after a successful pilot project of 15 schools in Brooklyn. The school menu change will impact about 1,1 million students in the school year 2019/2020.
It’s no big news that meat consumption has been shown to have a high impact on our health and the environment. A meat-rich diet has been linked to a variety of diseases such as colorectal cancer, coronary heart diseases, and diabetes. In terms of the environment, livestock farming is one of the biggest greenhouse gas producers.
New York City’s Mayor de Blasio suggests that cutting back on meat a little will improve NYC students’ health and reduce the city’s share of greenhouse gas emission. Introducing students to healthy meatless meal options could be their first step towards a more sustainable lifestyle. It is questionable though if the project alone will lead to a lasting behaviour change among the students. Parents already have noted their concern and asked whether they will be allowed to pack lunch containing meat on Mondays (which they will be). It hasn't been proven yet how to influence the selection of food best yet but it can be assumed that the influence of the family background could outweigh the Mayor's efforts.