Mar. 20 2019

Meatless Monday Milestone: City Public Schools on Board

Meatless Monday, an initiative of the Monday Campaign, a non-profit founded by Columbia Mailman School Board of Overseers Member Sid Lerner, experienced a significant boost last week when New York City announced that all of its public schools will adopt Meatless Monday beginning in the 2019–2020 school year.

“Cutting back on meat a little will improve New Yorkers’ health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “We’re expanding Meatless Mondays to all public schools to keep our lunch and planet green for generations to come.”

Lerner called the announcement a “major milestone” and praised the city for “getting our children on a healthier track, as well as making a positive impact on our environment.”

“The Columbia Mailman community has been an early supporter of Meatless Monday and its goal to reduce meat consumption by 15 percent for the health of individuals and the planet,” said Dean Linda P. Fried.

The recent report of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change emphasizes that changes in lifestyle and consumption habits, such as reduction of meat consumption, are important to stemming the impacts of climate change.

The Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion hosts Meatless Monday events for students, staff, and faculty. The Lerner Center has also partnered with student groups such as Food Policy and Obesity Prevention (FPOP) and Students for Environmental Action (SEA) to share Meatless Monday facts and inspiration with the Columbia Mailman community and provide students with tasty meat alternatives and meatless recipes. At the Lerner Center’s last Meatless Monday celebration, over 200 students pledged to eat meatless on Mondays.

Within the Washington Heights community, the Lerner Center encourages Meatless Monday by providing meatless treats and tips for healthy eating at community events like Hike the Heights. The Center also works closely with The Monday Campaigns and NewYork Presbyterian (NYP) hospitals to implement Meatless Monday in several NYP cafeterias and to evaluate the Monday Campaign’s influence on consumer habits.