Greener by Default at UVic

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The Greener by Default initiative proposes the University of Victoria serves >60% plant-based meals by December 2022, as a solution to reduce food systems emissions for climate change, and benefit campus and environmental health.

Greener by Default is simple: Make plant-based food the default and give people the choice to opt in for meals with animal products. Part of a broad international initiative shared across  universities, institutions, and individuals, Greener by Default is inclusive, reduces your carbon footprint, and increases the healthfulness of your meals.

Under the Default Veg partner banner, our initiative was chosen as 2nd place of 20 initiatives in UVic’s Climate Solutions Challenge 2021:

What are the benefits? Plant-based foods:

  • significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollution;
  • lower the risk of a range of preventable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and obesity;
  • and are a kinder alternative for the 99% of farmed animals raised on factory farms.
  • Greener by Default is a simple way to promote sustainability and wellness across campus.
  • Plus, Greener by Default recognizes the diversity of our university population and their dietary needs, making it easier for everyone to eat healthier meals and create a just world.

The Greener by Default policy is being developed in concert with other universities across Canada in 2021/22, and optimizes on the pause in university operations (covid-19 pandemic, 2020-2021) to implement new eating habits to promote a healthy community. The DefaultVeg profile optimizes menus for our culturally diverse communities, including those with dietary considerations, or who may be lactose-intolerant, vegetarian and vegan.

“Transformation to healthy diets by 2050 will require substantial dietary shifts. Global consumption of fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes will have to double, and consumption of foods such as red meat and sugar will have to be reduced by more than 50%. A diet rich in plant-based foods and with fewer animal source foods confers both improved health and environmental benefits.”

 “Summary of the EAT-Lancet Commission,”  2019.

Thank you to everyone contributing to our successful Chili Popup event October 21st, introducing food-climate sustainability on campus! Approximately 250 of our campus community enjoyed hot plant-based chili and a bun, with Daiya ched shreds served by Daiya Foods’ Gordon World. The Office of Sustainability promoted Fair Trade week with free coffee, tea and cocoa. Thanks also to our volunteers Carter and Siena!