Second-Largest School District in the U.S. to Start Vegan Meal Pilot Program

Published by Katherine Sullivan.

During a school board meeting on Tuesday, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Board of Education approved a pilot program that will introduce vegan lunches at select Los Angeles schools beginning in August.

In 2013, the LAUSD introduced the “Meatless Monday” program, in which school cafeterias served only vegetable-based foods on the first day of each school week. In March 2016, the school board committed to serving only antibiotic- and hormone-free chicken products, the first large district to do so in the U.S. Then, in May 2016, Pamela Anderson and Lila Copeland, a 14-year-old student at the time, lobbied for “Healthy Freedom,” a campaign that aims to introduce a daily vegan meal option at every LAUSD school.

Fast-forward to one year later, and the LAUSD—the second-largest school district in the U.S.—is inching closer and closer to providing plant-based lunches districtwide.

LAUSD Board President Steve Zimmer told KPCC, “We have had a demand and when we get a demand like this from our community, we institute a pilot to find out is this something that we really could implement district wide.” Zimmer, who is a vegetarian himself, believes that schools should offer plant-based meal options and that doing so could help ensure that students develop healthy eating habits.

In a similar move, the board agreed last month to ban school participation in “McTeacher’s Night” fundraising events, which are hosted by McDonald’s. This resolution—also supported by Zimmer—sought to distance LAUSD schools from corporations, like McDonald’s, that market unhealthy products.

Join the LAUSD—Go Vegan!

The board’s decision is a significant one. School districts in California and across the U.S. look to large districts like the LAUSD for direction and may soon take similar steps to prioritize students’ health and wellness.

But students and school districts aren’t the only ones who can make a positive change for themselves and the world. If you’re inspired by the LAUSD’s decision to support plant-based diets, click the button below to order your own free vegan starter kit—join the movement!

Have you heard of TeachKind, PETA’s humane-education division? It offers free resources—including lesson plans, classroom materials, and presentations—that are designed to help K–12 schools and educators teach kids to be kind to animals. Click the button below to learn more.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind