Lyon’s mayor Grégory Doucet decided to temporarily provide schools in the city with meals without meat, because of meat supply problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
From the beginning of this week, 29,000 school children received only meat-free meals at school.
Barbara Pompili, the French Minister of Ecology, praised a menu of zucchini soup, spaghetti with lentils, carrots and tomatoes, goat cheese and a pear dessert during a recent visit to a school restaurant.
She said that under new government policies, schools would be encouraged to experiment with a daily vegetarian menu option.
Meat uses up a huge amount of land compared to plant-based protein and worsens climate change and deforestation, environmentalists have long said.
In recent years, several French environment ministers have proposed more vegetarian options in school restaurants but have gotten strong opposition from France’s powerful agriculture lobby.
“This is absurd from a nutritional point of view and a scandal from a social point of view,” agriculture minister Julien Denormandie said on RTL radio about the meat-free meals in Lyon.
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