New York City public school system introduces Vegan Fridays

Two plates with vegan tacos on them and sauce, animal news
Vegan tacos, photo: Jeff Kearney via Canva

New York City’s public schools will serve vegan meals once a week on Fridays. The new school policy started Friday with vegan tacos, seasoned broccoli, and black bean and corn salad.

“Plant-based options in schools means healthy eating and healthy living,” the New York City Department of Education said in a tweet announcing the new initiative.

The mayor of New York City, Eric Adams, is a vegan and emphasized the health and environmental benefits of a vegan diet: “We feed our healthcare crisis. In one voice, we talk about fighting childhood obesity, diabetes, yet you go into a school building every day, and you see the food that feeds our health care crisis.”

“We have to move away from our fixation on the products that are also destroying our environment. That’s often not talked about. The over consumption of dairy and meat, how that impacts the environment,” Adams said.

The public school system in New York City is the largest in the United States and serves 1.1 million students in over 1800 schools.

“It’s really a big shift from where they were with dairy heavy foods like grilled cheese and pizza to things that are more sustainable and healthier for our students,” said Dana Smith, campaign director for Meatless Monday.

Doctor Vanita Rahman, clinic director at the Barnard Medical Center, which focuses on nutrition to fight diseases, praised the new initiative: “I think this is a really good first step to bring this to school because children are vulnerable. This way of eating is going to serve them well, not only through their childhood, adolescence but through their adult years.”

“It has tremendous benefits, not just for the health of growing children, who will benefit from a lifetime to come, but also for the health of the planet, the health of the animals that we share it with,” she added. “We’re really safeguarding their [the children] future too by doing this.”

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