This is a guest post written by Kristeena Patsche
Dear Meatless Mondays: What Happened to Food Choices?
The new trend in K-12 schools, colleges, and some restaurants have been Meatless Mondays, or removing meat from your diet one day a week and serving meat-free, vegetarian recipes.
The University of Minnesota, a school most of us know for their reputable College of Agriculture, has jumped on board and joined the long list of campuses that serve Meatless Mondays. There’s only one problem – where’d their food choices go?
According to the Meatless Monday website, joining the movement showcases the importance of consuming fruits and vegetables. But why do this at the expense of meat?
Not surprisingly, I am a meat-eater. When you grow up on a pig farm, bacon or pork patties make the menu more than not. But my views and food decisions should not dictate those who don’t feel the same.
Let’s reverse the situation – what if there was a petition to get rid of the salad bar and require students to ONLY eat meat once a week. We can all agree this would not fly. There’s a reason we have food choices, meat-eaters should be given the same courtesy as vegetarians and vegans when it comes to choosing food, even on Mondays.
Meatless Monday = Spreading Misinformation
When I first heard the term “Meatless Monday,” my initial thought was, “What is wrong with meat? If they are doing away with meat, what is the reason?”
When these questions are asked by students or consumers not from a farming background, this is how misinformation gets spread. Whether they google or search social media, it is hard to know what answer they will get – assuming it may not be the truth.
The Humane Society of the United States, a very anti-agriculture organization, released a statement in support of Meatless Mondays.
“Choosing meat-free options just one day a week helps spare animals from factory farms, helps our environment, and improves our health,” said Kristie Middleton, food policy manager at The Humane Society of the United States.
These statements are what we are up against, and what is out there for those looking for answers to read. It is our job to be spread the positive stories of agriculture, the benefits of having food choices and ultimately, being thankful for the plentiful supply thanks to our farmers. With that, I leave you with this food for thought.
“So what is the future for Meatless Mondays? It’s very simple. If this campaign really aims to expose people to a wider range of vegetables and plant-based food choices, let’s simply christen it “More Veg Mondays.” … Rather than demonizing individual foods, let’s celebrate the fabulous variety of choices that are available to us and that allows us the opportunity to eat a balanced diet every single day. – Jude Capper, Bovidiva