Philadelphia school lunch menus are experimenting with a meatless option.
Meatless menus in schools provide health and environmental benefits and more options could be added in Philadelphia public schools, said Kristil Smith, food policy manager for The Humane Society in Washington, D.C.
“They’re really looking forward to expand meat-free options in the future,” she said. “We support it because it’s a great way to reduce the number of animals suffering on factory farms.”
Philadelphia is one of the latest school districts to join a nationwide movement dedicated to providing nutritious and tasty meals, from the classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich to cheese calzone, cheese pizza and pasta.
The list of school districts cooking up meatless dishes spans both coasts with participating schools in Buffalo, Detroit, Houston and Los Angeles — which has the country’s second largest school district. Philadelphia launched its version of the healthy eating campaign with Lean and Green Day last month at C.C.A. Baldi Middle School in the Greater Northeast.
Daniella Monet, known mostly for her starring role in the Nickelodeon film, “Victorious,” acting as campaign ambassador sat down to lunch with sixth graders who were selected for perfect attendance.
Rachel Atcheson, of The Humane League in Philadelphia, has worked to build support for meatless menus in Philadelphia schools, testifying before the School Reform Commission and reaching out to students.
Meatless meals are now served every day, but one day each week is dedicated to promoting the new menu options, Smith said.
The commission has passed a resolution in support of Meatless Monday. An online petition of support is posted on the website for The Humane Society. Smith said there’s broad support among its 11 million members worldwide.
The meatless offerings are being expanded to satisfy tastes of a diverse student body. The school district provides interpretation and translation services in 10 languages, including Arabic, Spanish, American Sign Language, Chinese and Vietnamese.