Chris Packham Backs Campaign To Get Plant-Based Meals In UK Schools

A new campaign from ProVeg is urging UK schools to serve vegan meals


3 Minutes Read

Chris Packham in a Pro Veg t-shirt in a garden Chris Packham is supporting Pro Veg's School Meals campaign - Media Credit: Chris Packham via Instagram

Nature expert and TV presenter Chris Packham has said he’s “very pleased” to be backing a campaign urging UK schools to serve plant-based meals.

ProVeg set up “School Plates” in 2018. The non-governmental organization campaigns for food system change. It aims to help schools make the move to plant-based cooking for the good of children’s health, to save money, and to benefit the planet.

Animal agriculture is one of the biggest environmental problems we face. One study from the University of Oxford found that Western countries need to reduce beef consumption by 90 percent to avoid climate collapse.

Another study found that eating plant-based is the “single biggest way” people can reduce their impact on the earth.

To help accelerate food system change, ProVeg works with school staff, cooks, and caterers. Training opportunities are provided to help them make the switch to plant-based. The organization also provides recipe books that are available to download from its website completely free of charge.

Chris Packham’s vegan advocacy

Packham, who is a vegan himself, said that information is provided in a “gentle, encouraging way.”

“One of the things that we can do relatively easily here in the UK is change what we eat,” he added. “There’s no ambiguity about the fact that we need to be eating less meat.”

He also reiterated the importance of helping people “transition.”

“Asking people who eat a lot [of meat] to eat a little less,” he added. “Being patient and kind as they go through that process.”

ProVeg is currently working with more than 3,500 schools across the UK, feeding 588,000 children every day. A spokesperson told Plant Based News that the reception from these schools has been “extremely positive.”

They added: “We encourage our partners to run tasting sessions with the children before launching new menus. Feedback is crucial – whether it be from partners, parents, or the kids themselves. We want to change school food for the better – gone are the days of Turkey Twizzlers!”

Plant-based campaigns

This is just the latest campaign to urge public services to offer plant-based meals in the UK. 

This year, more than 70,000 people have signed a Pro Veg petition urging the EU to serve calcium-fortified dairy-free milk in schools. 

They were described by ProVeg as a “healthy, sustainable option.” The group stated that they “should be included in the school scheme as European society shifts towards a more plant-based diet.”

Also this year, a number of doctors wrote to NHS Scotland. They outlined the reasons why vegan meals should be served in hospitals

The letter compared serving meat to “distributing cigarettes in the pulmonary-care unit. It added: “Switching to 100 percent vegan menus … would help NHS Scotland improve patient recovery, reduce costs, prevent animal suffering, and meet its commitment to reaching net-zero carbon emissions.”

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