Escambia County, Florida – a town of over 310,000 – is the newest Meatless Monday community to benefit from having weekly recipes and resources for better health. Thanks to the Escambia County Health Department, the town is participating in a three-month long campaign to encourage residents to eat a more balanced diet and reduce their risk of the chronic, preventable illnesses like heart disease and type-2 diabetes.
The Escambia County Health Department will work with local restaurants, schools, and other establishments to promote Meatless Monday meals. Press kits, billboards, radio spots, online recipes, community outreach materials and events are all part of Escambia County’s strategy to educate residents about healthy habits.
“We’re not advocating complete avoidance of meat – that’s not realistic,” said Registered Dietitian and Community Health Education and Nutrition Director, Versilla Turner. “This campaign is about helping residents take small, manageable steps toward better health.”
Community member Teri Teliard agreed with the Health Department’s sentiment in a report by ABC’s local news outlet, WEAR. “A lot of times you don’t even miss the meat to be honest with you. It’s one thing to be adventurous and also to be healthy on top of it is really a good thing.”
Escambia County joins a nation-wide network of communities that are working to promote the campaign. In November, the city of Los Angeles celebrated the movement’s growing popularity by passing a Meatless Monday resolution.The resolution is part of L.A.’s new “good food agenda,” which aims to support local, sustainable food choices, introduce healthier food options and reduce the growing obesity epidemic in South Los Angeles.
“We can reduce saturated fats and reduce the risk of heart disease by 19%,” said Councilwoman Perry, who introduced the Meatless Monday motion. “While this is a symbolic gesture, it is asking people to think about the food choices they make. Eating less meat can reverse some of our nation’s most common illnesses.”
Interested in bringing the campaign to your community? 2013 marks the 10 year anniversary of the global Meatless Monday movement, so get started this week with the help of our outreach guide!