Southern California’s Oak Park Unified School District has a lot to celebrate. In August it was awarded a Green Ribbon by the Department of Education, which recognizes outstanding programs in student health and environmental sustainability. It has forged a new community partnership with the Four Seasons Wellness Center, whose food truck regularly provides tasty and nutritious offerings. It makes an effort to ethically source its meats, and ensures at least two veggie options every day.
And, most importantly, the students are loving it.
What began as an idea seeded by the Meatless Monday campaign has flowered into a mission of impressive size and scope, encompassing eight schools in Ventura County. Oak Park now boasts organic gardens at several of its schools, enabling their cafeterias to serve the harvested produce. It has also established a new curriculum that unites its various initiatives under a single theme: “Making peace with the natural world.”
For Oak Park, peace begins on a plate, and Meatless Monday was the ideal vehicle for that philosophy. Superintendent Dr. Tony Knight elaborated:
“It is very important because it is raising awareness in a variety of areas – the impact on the environment, our health, and humanity towards animals.”
Spurred by these many successes, Oak Park continues to innovate. Its commitment to student health and environmental stewardship provides a model worth emulating.
Want to bring Meatless Monday to your school? Get started with simple ideas for engaging students, staff and parents here.