Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Meatless Mondays...a movement for the future with roots in the past
Yoko Ono does it (and tweets about it), Dovetail Restaurant in NYC does it, even Oxford University in England does it. The 2009 documentary 'Food inc.' listed it as on of the 10 things you can do to change our food system. Meatless Mondays isn't a new idea, originating during WWI as a conservation measure (they also practiced 'wheatless wednesday') and reintroduced during WWII by Herbert Hoover. Actually, according to Frederick Kaufman in his entertaining and informative book "A Short History of the American Stomach' our nation has been fasting regularly since the very beginning for both religious and conservation purposes. As late as the mid 1800's it was a practice sanctioned by the government in the form of communal fasting days. Given all that, just going without meat one day a week seems hardly a sacrifice!
The Meatless Monday Movement began again in 2003 as a nonprofit initiative of 'The Monday Campaigns, inc.' in association with the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health's Center for a Livable Future. It was then endorsed by 20 schools of public health and spread to schools and organizations across the country.
The idea is to use the first day of the week to set healthy patterns and intentions for the week ahead. If you miss one Monday, there's always next week. See healthymonday.org for more on this theory.
Why Meatless? The John's Hopkins initiative was orginally introduced to reduce consumption of saturated fats in the american diet, but the benefits also have a global effect. The Observer wrote in 2008 about the United Nations sanctioning the consumtion of less meat citing these statistics: The meat industry generates nearly 1/5 of the man made greenhouse gas emissions that lead to climate change. Current large scale meat farming methods contribute half of the pollutants in our rivers and streams. Production of 1# of meat takes 2500 gallons of water (compared to 220 gallons for 1# of soybeans)
This movement is not without it's enemies, the Atlantic Monthly wrote in 2009 about the reaction of the meat industry to public schools declaring meatfree mondays. With their stronghold on goverment subsidies and powerful lobbists, they prove formiddable opponents to the winds of change.
So, for the health of our planet and the health of our people, we want to show our support and join in the movement.
Starting April 5th the bakery will be going meatless on mondays. It's biscuits and mushroom gravy and spinach & cheese danishes for everyone...trust us, this won't hurt a bit.
For more information go to meatlessmondays.com
As an added measure, I know lots of people have adopted a 'fish on friday' tradition. So if you had a vegetarian meal on monday and fish on friday, that would be two days a week of no meat consumtion, think of the difference it would make if we all made the commitment. Not to mention supporting those fisheries working hard to put quality 'sustainable' protein on our collective tables.