One private early childhood-12 school in southern California has gone all the way, eliminating all meat and animal products from its cafeteria and offering an entirely plant-based menu.
The MUSE School in Calabasas, California, is believed to be the first primary or secondary school in the nation to go entirely vegan.
MUSE was founded by actress Suzy Amis Cameron and her sister Rebecca Amis in 2006, with a focus on sustainability. According to spokeswoman Jennifer Mau, MUSE’s board and administration made the decision to go vegan last spring; all lettuce and nearly half of the produce will be sourced from on-campus gardens and greenhouses thanks to the school’s seed-to-table initiative, which grows about 200 different varieties.
MUSE was already moving toward the change, serving entirely plant-based meals one day a week to its 150 students beginning in September 2013. Last fall, it upped that number to two days a week, plus two days of vegetarian-friendly fare.
Parents’ response to the initiative has been largely positive, Mau says.
“The way we eat is the easiest and most impactful way we can alter our carbon footprint as a school,” MUSE’s head of school Jeff King said in a statement. “The largest consumers of water are not people but cattle. To truly deliver our mission of sustainability, we had to find a sustainable way of eating. The answer was to create our ‘One Meal a Day for the Planet’ program — plant-based lunches and snacks — for our students.”
Nutritionists interviewed applauded MUSE’s move away from the typically highly processed foods and drinks that too often remain standard American cafeteria fare. Going vegan not only has an environmental impact, but also a health one — reducing risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes, as well as curbing obesity.
A vegan diet is in line with the health world’s recommendation to eat mostly (fruits, vegetables, and grains), nuts and seeds, and In order to be successful and healthy ought to offer a variety of choices. Menus must be planned to be adequate in calories, protein, and variety.
Mau, noting that students are only eating one meal a day at MUSE, said school officials are very careful about their approach to plant-based proteins in an effort to ensure the meals are as nutritious as possible.
Between healthy eating and physical exercise and improved student behaviour and academic performance. It’s evidence, that MUSE’s efforts are beneficial for their students in ways beyond their physical health.
Many more schools are now becoming aware of the key benefits that a vegan meal plan offers it’s students, and are preparing to follow suit.