New York City’s first annual meat-free holiday kicked off yesterday, courtesy of Mayor Eric Adams who recently signed the city up for the MeatOut initiative for 2022.
NYC – home to upwards of eight million people – will encourage putting plants center-plate for the five days following March 20 (aka MeatOut Day).
Select restaurants have launched vegan and vegetarian menus for the occasion. And a string of educational events are slated to take place across the city.
Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM) launched the MeatOut concept in 1985. The campaign was designed to raise awareness about the health and environmental benefits of plant-based eating.
More than 40 cities and states have since signed up, including Colorado, Dallas, Los Angeles, Louisville, Philadelphia, and Texas.
A ‘plant-based future’
Eric Lindstrom, FARM executive director, applauded NYC’s involvement in the initiative.
“As a New Yorker myself, I am particularly proud of this proclamation,” Lindstrom said. “The advances Mayor Adams has made toward a plant-based future, and Vegan Fridays in New York City schools, align perfectly with our mission and the mission of MeatOut.”
Indeed, Adams has been following through on his promise to promote plant-based food since he assumed office on January 1, 2022.
In February, the Adams-backed Vegan Fridays initiative rolled out across NYC’s public school system, which is the largest in the country.
Under the program, more than 1.1 million K-12 students at over 1,700 schools will be served plant-based meals every Friday. Adams maintains that such approaches are vital in addressing the health crises that are weighing on children today.
“In one voice, we talk about fighting childhood obesity, diabetes yet you go into a school building every day and you see the food that feeds our healthcare crisis,” Adams said in January.
“The children have been calling me and saying they want better food in schools, and I’m going to do the best I can to give them the options of a more healthier diet so we can stop feeding the crisis.”
Adams adopted a vegan diet himself in 2016, and thanked the move for reversing his diabetes diagnosis. The politician has since admitted he eats seafood sparingly, after reporters discovered he had been ordering fish at local restaurants.
“I am perfectly imperfect, and have occasionally eaten fish,” he said at a conference last month.
Seafood consumption is a growingly controversial admission. Aside from the health risks linked to fish products – such as mercury, antibiotic, and microplastic concerns – the fishing industry has come under fire for its negative impact on oceans and marine life.