Sidestepping national debates over school lunch regulations and what constitutes a serving of vegetables, one California school district is taking matters into its own hands with initiatives to offer more fresh and vegan meals, One Green Planet reports.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue made headlines this month with his revelation that his department intended to “relax” certain regulations put forward by the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act. Among those regulations are measures like increasing access to fresh produce.
The Los Angeles Unified School District has fired back with several schools therein expected to pilot a vegan meal program by August, according to Southern California Public Radio (SCPR). That comes on the heels of teenage activist Lila Copeland’s push for expanded vegan lunch options for students, a moratorium on processed meats at two California school districts, and a recent change by the Oakland Unified School District to adjust its lunch menu to reflect an increased offering of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and less meat and cheese.
“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,” LAUSD Board President (and vegetarian!) Steve Zimmer told SCPR.
Copeland took to the podium last June, backed by Cowspiracy’s Dr. Michael Klaper, among others, to go over the health benefits of fresh produce and argue in favor of vegan options in cafeterias. Those proposals were recently approved, according to VegNews.
The LAUSD is the second-largest school district in the United States, making its healthy strides potential standards for other districts to mirror, regardless of debate over whether ketchup constitutes a serving of vegetables—or whether the federal government will offer any dietary guidelines at all.
The California school district last month broke ranks with McDonald’s Teacher’s Night program, effectively disrupting the fast food chain’s influence over students’ eating habits. Prior to that, the LAUSD banned poultry treated with antibiotics and hormones from its cafeterias—a move the rest of the county soon copied.