Thanks to a resolution presented by New York City Council members Helen Rosenthal and Corey Johnson, the Big Apple might soon adopt Meatless Mondays and join the ranks of Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Cleveland, South Miami, San Jose and San Diego. By supporting Meatless Mondays, New York City Council is sending an important message, stating that reducing meat consumption will help health, environment and animal welfare.
The resolution “explains how the Meatless Monday campaign began as a nationwide war-rationing effort in World Wars I and II, and was revived as a public health initiative in 2003 by The Monday Campaigns with Johns Hopkins University.” Already around 40 schools in New York City participate in Meatless Mondays and some restaurants are making vegetarian options available on that day.
Supporters for the resolution include charities and organisations involved with health, environment and animal welfare as well as chefs such as Bill Telepan, Mario Batali and Marisa May.
“Meatless Monday is an easy win, always has been,” said Chef Mario Batali. “It’s been nothing but a positive experience since we introduced it in our restaurants five years ago and I’m thrilled to hear that New York City is introducing this citywide Meatless Monday resolution promoting health for people and planet.”
“We are pleased that the Health Committee has proposed this important resolution. It indicates a strong investment in the overall health of the residents of New York City,” said Robert Ostfeld, M.D., MSc., director of the Cardiac Wellness Program at Montefiore Medical Center. “As a cardiologist who sees numerous patients suffering with heart disease, diabetes and hypertension, I have witnessed first-hand the dramatic health improvements that can be achieved with a whole-food, plant-based diet.”
“Great to hear that New York City officials are considering introducing Meatless Monday! It’s such an easy and enjoyable way to reduce our carbon footprint and improve our health. If the resolution passes, we look forward to seeing what delicious and creative meat free options chefs come up with on Mondays in this amazing city!” said Paul, Mary and Stella McCartney.
Schools around the US are already participating to curb obesity and encourage healthy eating habits. The Baltimore City Public School system was the first school district to implement Meatless Mondays in 2009, and serves all-vegetarian meals to 80,000 students every week. The Los Angeles Unified School District, the nation’s second largest public school system, launched a 100% Meatless Monday menu in all of its cafeterias in 2013, serving 650,000 meat-free meals to students each week.
Meatless Mondays isn’t just an American trend — this healthy-eating initiative is celebrated all over the globe. In 2009, Ghent, Belgium became the first city to adopt Veggie Day and soon after Bremen, Germany introduced a “Thursday Veggie Day” campaign. Germany’s Green Party even recently announced that it’s adding a “Veggie Day” component to its party platform. And Vancouver recently became the first Canadian city to endorse Meatless Mondays. There is also a Meatless Monday movement in the Philippines, Australia, Israel, Iran and other countries. See full list here.