Victory! Bill Promoting Nutritious Plant-Based School Meals Passes California Assembly

Leslie Raabe, Physicians Committee for Responsible MedicineJan. 27, 2022

SACRAMENTO, Calif.—The Child Nutrition Act of 2022 (AB 558), a bill co-sponsored by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, passed the California State Assembly today. The bill incentivizes K-12 public schools across the state to offer healthier, climate-friendly plant-based meals and beverages.

“As the country continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring that California’s students have access to healthy plant-based meals that promote overall wellness and help support their immunity is a more urgent need than ever,” says Maggie Neola, RD, a dietitian with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

Diet-related conditions worsen COVID-19 cases, and children experiencing the effects of unhealthy eating that used to be reserved for adults—obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes—can benefit greatly from reducing meat and dairy consumption and increasing the amount of plant-based foods they eat. A better diet will improve children’s lives not only in the pandemic but for years to come.

California Assembly member Adrin Nazarian (D-46) authored the Child Nutrition Act of 2022. The bill will now move to the California State Senate for further consideration.

“Children in California need the nutritious plant-based meals that this legislation will provide,” adds Neola. “The Physicians Committee urges the California Senate to swiftly pass this bill and send it to Governor Newsom’s desk.”

Besides AB 558, the Physicians Committee advocates to expand access to plant-based school meals across the country, including working to pass New York bill A.301 / S.1726, which would give every student in New York public schools options for healthy plant-based foods.

The Physicians Committee has quantity plant-based recipes and other resources for students, parents, and schools at

[… Read more at Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine ]


Plant-Based Doctor, Michelle McMacken, Appointed Executive Director of Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine for NYC Health + Hospitals

Shelby Hettler, One Green Planet, January 14, 2022

On Thursday, January 13, vegan doctor, Michelle McMacken, was officially announced as the new Executive Director of Nutrition and Lifestyle Medicine for NYC Health + Hospitals.

McMacken, MD, FACP, DipABLM is a leader in plant-based health. After going vegan in 2007, she began to integrate plant-based nutrition into her medical practice and found that it made a huge difference in her patients’ lives as well as her own.

To help even more people experience the benefits of plant-based whole foods, she created the Bellevue Plant-Based Lifestyle Medicine Program in 2019. The program helps people with certain health issues “upgrade” their lifestyle and increase overall wellbeing by focusing on diet, sleep, stress, exercise, social connection, and substance use. The program was supported by NYC’s new plant-based Mayor, Eric Adams, who was the Brooklyn Borough President at the time, and has helped hundreds of New Yorkers. Now, Dr. McMacken has the opportunity to build on this work and help even more individuals overcome chronic diseases by adopting healthier lifestyles….

[ … Read more at , One Green Planet ]


Introducing UBC’s Climate-Friendly Food Label

Shalini Nanayakkara, University of British Columbia, November 2021

Ever wonder how our food choices impact the climate? Us, too. That’s why UBC has developed our first ever climate-friendly food label that tracks how much greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are produced in campus meals.

The Climate-Friendly Food Label is part of the emerging UBC Climate Action Plan 2030, which will position UBC as a model of how universities can mobilize to address the climate emergency and targets in the Paris Agreement through bold, impactful actions to accelerate and deepen reductions across operations, and expanded action on reducing indirect emissions from commuting, air travel, food, and waste.

[… Read more at University of British Columbia ]




Vancouver approves plan to increase plant-based alternatives in its food purchasing

Daily HiveNov. 4, 2021

A motion put forward by Councillor Pete Fry, and passed unanimously by Council, calls for the City to shift 20 percent of municipal animal-based food purchases to plant-based foods.

The motion cites the growing body of evidence outlining the animal agriculture industry’s contribution to climate change. It points to the role plant-based diets and food system change play in meeting our international climate commitments and staying within 1.5 degrees of global warming.  

The motion also cites the Vancouver Humane Society’s (VHS) recently released report, which showcases the impact such a shift in municipal food purchasing would make in Vancouver.

The report concludes that reducing municipal purchases of animal-based products by 20 percent and replacing them with plant-based foods could save the City up to $99,000 in procurement costs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 500 tonnes, and save the equivalent of nearly 400 farmed animal lives on an annual basis.  

The City’s unanimous support for shifting municipal food purchases toward fewer animal products and more plant-based foods serves as an example that other municipalities should follow.

If we hope to combat climate change and create a more humane and sustainable food system, we must keep urgent actions on the table – and sustainable, plant-based foods on our plates. 

[… Read more at Daily Hive ]

See also:

City of Vancouver unanimously passes motion to shift 20% of animal-based purchasing to plant-based, citing VHS report

Vancouver Humane Society, Nov. 4, 2021

Update: The report “Increasing Plant-Based Purchasing at the Municipal Level” led to a motion put forward to Vancouver City Council. Many supporters wrote in to support this motion and it made an impact: The motion was passed unanimously by Vancouver City Council…

VHS recently launched a new report, “Increasing Plant-Based Purchasing at the Municipal Level”, which examines food purchasing for the City of Vancouver. The report reviews the impact of a shift in municipal food purchasing that reduces the volume of animal-based foods by 20%, to be replaced with plant-based alternatives.

It concludes that by replacing 20% of animal-based food products with plant-based alternatives, the City of Vancouver could expect to:

  • save up to $99,000
  • reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 500 tonnes
  • save the equivalent of nearly 400 farmed animal lives on annual basis

VHS is distributing this report amongst municipal decision-makers at the City of Vancouver and will be highlighting opportunities for its implementation.

[… Read more at Vancouver Humane Society]


Changing Behaviour for Net Zero 2050

Marteau, Theresa M., Nick Chater, Emma E. Garnett, “Changing Behaviour for Net Zero 2050,”  British Medical Journal 375 (2021). doi:

Theresa Marteau and colleagues argue for rapid, radical changes to the infrastructure and pricing systems that currently support unhealthy unsustainable behaviour

“Many major economies, including the US, EU, and UK, have committed to net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 to limit climate change. Immediate action is needed to hit this target and to minimise cumulative emissions. Current commitments are, however, unmatched by action….

The latest International Panel on Climate Change report estimates that if global emissions are halved by 2030 and net zero is reached by 2050, the current rise in temperatures could be halted and possibly reversed. The 26th UN climate change conference (COP26) in November 2021 offers a precious opportunity to get back on track.

Behaviour change by individuals, commercial entities, and policy makers is critical to achieving net zero in all domains. Here we focus on behaviour concerning diet and land travel, given their importance for both achieving net zero and improving population health, but the approaches we outline are also applicable to other behaviours.

Diet and land travel contribute an estimated 26% and 12% of greenhouse gas emissions, respectively. Cutting these emissions would also benefit health by reducing air pollution—now the greatest external threat to human health—increasing physical activity, and healthier diets, thereby tackling major risk factors for non-communicable disease globally.”

“Dietary change is likely to deliver far greater environmental benefits than can be achieved by food producers.”

This paper considers the behaviour of three groups central to achieving net zero by 2050: the public (both as citizens and consumers), policy makers, and private sector leaders.

Key messages:

  • Current government policies globally are insufficient for the rapid decarbonisation needed for net zero by 2050
  • Changing behaviour across populations is key to achieving this as technological innovation will be insufficient
  • Changing behaviour at scale requires changing the environments that drive the behaviour
  • Changes to diet and land travel can be achieved through policies to increase the availability and affordability of healthier and more sustainable options.
  • Policies for net zero need to be driven by evidence and citizens’ values, safeguarded from corporate interference

[… Read full article at the British Medical Journal ]


Meat accounts for nearly 60% of all greenhouse gases from food production, study finds

Production of meat worldwide emits 28 times as much as growing plants, and most crops are raised to feed animals bound for slaughter

Oliver Milman, The GuardianSept. 13, 2021

The global production of food is responsible for a third of all planet-heating gases emitted by human activity, with the use of animals for meat causing twice the pollution of producing plant-based foods, a major new study has found.

The entire system of food production, such as the use of farming machinery, spraying of fertilizer and transportation of products, causes 17.3bn metric tonnes of greenhouse gases a year, according to the research. This enormous release of gases that fuel the climate crisis is more than double the entire emissions of the US and represents 35% of all global emissions, researchers said.

“The emissions are at the higher end of what we expected, it was a little bit of a surprise,” said Atul Jain, a climate scientist at the University of Illinois and co-author of the paper, published in Nature Food. “This study shows the entire cycle of the food production system, and policymakers may want to use the results to think about how to control greenhouse gas emissions.”

The raising and culling of animals for food is far worse for the climate than growing and processing fruits and vegetables for people to eat, the research found, confirming previous findings on the outsized impact that meat production, particularly beef, has on the environment.

The use of cows, pigs and other animals for food, as well as livestock feed, is responsible for 57% of all food production emissions, the research found, with 29% coming from the cultivation of plant-based foods. The rest comes from other uses of land, such as for cotton or rubber. Beef alone accounts for a quarter of emissions produced by raising and growing food….

The paper’s calculations of the climate impact of meat is higher than previous estimates – the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization has said about 14% of all emissions come from meat and diary production. The climate crisis is also itself a cause of hunger, with a recent study finding that a third of global food production will be at risk by the end of the century if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise at their current rate.

Scientists have consistently stressed that if dangerous global heating is to be avoided, a major rethink of eating habits and farming practices is required. Meat production has now expanded to the point that there are now approximately three chickens for every human on the planet….

[… Read more at The Guardian ]


Plant-Based Food Sales to Increase Fivefold By 2030, BI Says

Elizabeth Elkin,, Aug. 11, 2021

The global market for plant-based foods could see fivefold growth by 2030 helped by rising demand for sustainable products, according to a Bloomberg Intelligence report.

Sales of plant-based dairy and meat alternatives reached $29.4 billion in 2020, and could increase to $162 billion by 2030, comprising 7.7% of the global protein market.

Demand is increasing as companies like Beyond Meat Inc., Impossible Foods Inc. and Oatly Inc. bring alternative protein products to more restaurants and grocery stores. Legacy food companies like Tyson Foods Inc., Kellogg Co. and Nestle SA are also competing in the space with their own plant-based burgers and milks. They’re using their scale to drive distribution and working with retailers on promotions and marketing.

Meat and dairy substitutes are marketed as healthier and more sustainable than the products from animals that they aim to replace. They’re getting popular just as consumers become more conscious of the environmental footprint of food, and aim for healthier eating. Asia will also be a significant driver of plant-based protein sales because it’s vulnerable to limited food supplies, the report said.

[… Read more at ]


Berlin’s university canteens go almost meat-free as students prioritise climate

Philip Oltermann,The Guardian, August 31, 2021

Students at universities in Berlin will from this winter swap currywurst and schnitzel for seeds and pulses, as campus canteens in the German capital make heavy cuts to their meat and fish options.

The 34 canteens and cafes catering to Berlin’s sizeable student population at four different universities will offer from October a menu that is 68% vegan, 28% vegetarian, and 2% fish-based, with a single meat option offered four days a week.

Students will be able to nourish themselves over the winter months with meals including buckwheat and spelt bowls topped with grilled sweet potatoes, marinated beetroot and sesame seeds, or pasta bakes with tomato and cheese.

“We developed a new nutritional concept mainly because students have repeatedly approached us with the request for a more climate-friendly offer at their canteens,” said Daniela Kummle of Studierendenwerk, the organisation providing economic, social, health and cultural support to students enrolled at Berlin’s higher education institutions.

[… Read more at The Guardian ]