Elizabeth Puccini is co-founder of the NYC Green Schools initiative and parent of a student at The Children’s Workshop School in Manhattan. With the help of like minded parents, Elizabeth brought Meatless Monday to three New York City schools. She tells us how easy it is to bring Meatless Monday to our nation’s schools:
How did Meatless Monday at The Children’s Workshop School, The East Village Community School and P.S.94 come about?
The three schools share the same cafeteria. Inspired by the Baltimore school system, our Nutrition Committee asked if we could have Meatless Mondays. The School Foods Manager said yes. It was that simple.
Have there been changes to school food policy since the committee stepped in?
Absolutely. We have a salad bar that serves chickpeas and tofu, and we’ve eliminated fried products. We’ll soon be including education about the health and environmental benefits of eating plant-based foods.
Can these victories be easily adopted by other city schools?
Yes. School Foods is obligated to meet the requests of parents and schools. Suggesting Meatless Mondays is something parents and principals can take on right away!
What has the students’ response been?
Students are starting to appreciate the consequences of what they eat. When you limit meat, their first question is "Why?’ This begins a dialogue about why it’s so important to eat less meat and get your protein from plant sources.
What advice would you give other parents?
Get involved, and know you have the power to demand change. Form a nutrition committee, get the support of the principal and meet with your School Foods Manager (every school is assigned one) to speak about changes in your menu!