THE CITY OF NEW YORK
OFFICE OF THE MAYOR
NEW YORK, NY 10007
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 11, 2019
MAYOR DE BLASIO, CHANCELLOR CARRANZA, AND BROOKLYN BOROUGH PRESIDENT ADAMS ANNOUNCE CITYWIDE MEATLESS MONDAYS
Beginning in the 2019-20 school year, all schools will serve vegetarian menus on Mondays
NEW YORK — Mayor Bill de Blasio, Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza, and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams today announced all New York City public schools will have “Meatless Mondays” beginning in the 2019-2020 school year. The program, which was first piloted in 15 schools in Brooklyn in Spring 2018, will provide students with healthy, all-vegetarian breakfast and lunch menus every Monday.
“Cutting back on meat a little will improve New Yorkers' health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We're expanding Meatless Mondays to all public schools to keep our lunch and planet green for generations to come.”
“Meatless Mondays are good for our students, communities, and the environment,” said Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza. “Our 1.1 million students are taking the next step towards healthier, more sustainable lives. Our students and educators are truly leaders in this movement, and I salute them!”
“I stood beside Mayor de Blasio and then-Chancellor Fariña in 2017 to announce that fifteen schools in Brooklyn were undertaking Meatless Mondays. In less than eighteen months, we can announce that Meatless Mondays has spread to more than one million children at every school across the city, putting us on the path to make our kids, communities, and planet healthier,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “I am grateful to Mayor de Blasio and Chancellor Carranza, as well as our incredible parent and student advocates who have made this a reality. I could not be more energized by our progress and more ready to take on the work ahead.”
“Reducing our appetite for meat is one of the single biggest ways individuals can reduce their environmental impact on our planet,” said Mark Chambers, Director of the NYC Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. “Meatless Mondays will introduce hundreds of thousands of young New Yorkers to the idea that small changes in their diet can create larger changes for their health and the health of our planet.”
“Meatless Mondays gives our patients – and now every Department of Education student – the option of a healthier meal choice,” said Mitchell Katz, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer of NYC Health + Hospitals. “I thank Mayor de Blasio, Chancellor Carranza and Brooklyn Borough President Adams for championing this healthy choice and allowing our youth the opportunity to add plant-based meals to their diet.”
“Congratulations to Mayor de Blasio, Chancellor Carranza, and Brooklyn Borough President Adams for the citywide implementation of Meatless Mondays in our public schools, which contributes to better food and health equity for our students,” said Director of Food Policy Barbara Turk. “Meatless Mondays is one of many positive steps the Department of Education is taking in their broader progress to provide healthy school food, which also includes their leadership in the administration-wide participation of the Good Food Purchasing Program.”
Meatless Mondays is a national movement focused on healthy, environmentally friendly meal options, and it was piloted in 15 Brooklyn schools last year in collaboration with Borough President Eric Adams, who has championed plant-based diets. This fall, the pilot was brought to schools across the City in in order to evaluate student feedback on a broader scale. Through evaluation of participation metrics—which has remained stable—and student feedback, the DOE has decided to officially bring Meatless Mondays citywide for 2019-20. The expansion will be cost-neutral, and the DOE’s Office of Food and Nutrition Services will meet with students to get qualitative feedback before the menu for next fall is finalized.
Meatless Mondays builds on the City’s efforts to provide free, healthy meals to all students. This initiative will be part of New York City’s Free School Lunch for All, which launched in the 2017-18 school year and provides free, nutritious, healthy breakfast and lunch to all participating New York City schools. In the 2017-18 school year, more than 150 million breakfasts and lunches were served free of charge. Each summer, the DOE provides free breakfast and lunch to any New Yorker under 18 through the Summer Meals program. Since 2015, New York Thursdays have provided schools with locally sourced or produced food.
“For those who scoff at this notion, I have some simple advice: look at the science. Look at the data. Look at the childhood obesity. Look at pre-diabetes diagnoses. Look at the fact that 65% of American kids age 12-14 shows signs of early cholesterol disease. Then, perhaps you will embrace the fact that we can't keep doing things the same way, including welcoming the idea of Meatless Mondays,” said Staten Island Borough President James Oddo.
“Learning to eat healthy food is one of the most important lessons our children can gain as part of their education; and access to healthy food is an essential part of our preventative care,” said State Senator Alessandra Biaggi. “As a vegetarian, I always appreciated having viable choices like this, for nutrition.”
“Plant-based diets are healthy and also good for the environment,” said Assembly Health Committee Chair and longtime pescatarian Richard N. Gottfried. “From child development to chronic disease management, diet and nutrition play a central role in health care. I commend Mayor Bill de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza for their leadership on this issue.”
“I’m excited that Meatless Mondays will officially launch at NYC public schools for the 2019-2020 school year. They’ll help improve the health and wellness of our students and serve as an important way the city can address environmental sustainability,” said Council Member Brad Lander. “PS 130 has already received terrific feedback from its Meatless Mondays pilot program, and I look forward to similar results across the city. Thanks to Mayor Bill de Blasio, DOE Chancellor Richard Carranza, and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams for advocating for Meatless Mondays for all our kids.
New York City has also made strides in making cafeterias eco-friendly and sustainable, including compostable plates rather than polystyrene trays, and placing clearly labeled Recycling Stations in every cafeteria. Since the 2011-2012 school year, 761 schools now take part in the City’s Organic Collection program. The DOE’s Office of Sustainability supports these schools through training for students and staff on proper sorting of organic waste. Of the 761 schools, 108 are Zero Waste Schools, a partnership with the Department of Sanitation which seeks to divert all recyclable and compostable waste in five years, beginning in 2016. Since launch, 144 tons of organic compostable and recyclable waste have been diverted from landfills.