Cities across the U.S. are discovering that Meatless Monday is an easy way to get the entire town talking about better health! Durham North Carolina, Aspen Colorado and Covington Kentucky have all embraced the movement on a large scale, making it easy and fun for citizens to discover more nutritious options.
Durham North Carolina is home to Triangle Meatless Monday, a local effort to make veggie choices widely available.14 restaurants around Durham have taken up the movement, highlighting at least one meatless option each week. The campaign has its own website, Twitter account and Facebook page where participants can get weekly recipes and stay up to date on events. Even Durham’s prestigious Duke University has joined the movement with student-teacher potlucks!
The idea was launched by Durham city-county sustainability manager Tobin L. Freid and a group of citizen volunteers. “It can be a lot of fun trying things you haven’t tried before” Freid says of the campaign “It’s important for people to think, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. There is an easy way to just try it out.” Triangle Meatless Monday celebrated a tremendous victory earlier this month when Durham’s County Commissioners officially proclaimed Mondays meatless. Following in the footsteps of San Francisco and Washington D.C., Durham’s proclamation ensures that every citizen can access the meatless options they need to start the week right!
Aspen, Colorado is another Meatless Monday city that is gaining national attention. Over 20 restaurants have already joined the movement, along with the local hospital, elementary school, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Aspen Global Change Institute and the Cancer Survivor Center. “Our community is deeply concerned about health,” says Dawn Shepard, local personal trainer and co-initiator of the campaign. “We’re very active here. It’s an outdoor community. Personal health is key. We wanted to create a community-wide program to demonstrate that at every point in the day, wherever you are, you can be good to your body and good to the planet!”
Meatless Mondays in Aspen are also an opportunity for restaurateurs to shine; many of the city’s eateries have developed new dishes to start the week in style. “The food space is very competitive here” notes co-initiator and local chef Martin Oswald “we have over 100 restaurants in such a small town. Restaurants are always looking for an edge — and Meatless Monday puts them at the forefront of healthy dining. Plus, you’re becoming part of an international movement. That’s very appealing.”
Long before Durham and Aspen there was Covington Kentucky, a close knit community that uses Monday to promote a variety of health and wellness issues. Meatless Monday can be found in local restaurants, all of the county’s K-12 schools and at Northern Kentucky University. The community has also embraced other Monday Campaigns, offering Monday Mile walks, Healthy Monday tips and videos and weekly forums for community discussion about obesity prevention. The Northern Kentucky Healthy Monday Coalition is a wonderful example of how communities can unite to start the week with a focus on health.
You too can bring Meatless Monday to your community with the help of our action toolkits! Download the Community Toolkit for event ideas and tips on how to get your town talking! You can also use our brand new Restaurant Toolkit to show local eateries how Meatless Monday can help them promote better health while showcasing their creative cooking.