Reduce your “Foodprint” by Going Meatless this March
February 22, 2018
by Amanda Grossman
If you didn’t think you had a role in protecting against climate change consider that if all Americans eliminated just one quarterpound serving of beef per week, the reduction in global warming gas emissions would be equivalent to taking four to six million cars off the road, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.
This is the first year that Santa Monica is officially celebrating Meatless in March. The City’s Office of Sustainability and the Environment is asking the community to take the pledge this March to reduce their “foodprint” and engaging participants in a fun scavenger hunt. This is a great opportunity for folks to test the water of a vegetarian lifestyle.
Meatless in March is part of the City of Santa Monica’s commitment to creating a sustainable food system. The campaign is designed to create a dialogue about the impact of our food choices on the environment, local economy, animal welfare, health. As we begin to understand the impacts of one’s behaviors, we can become more conscious consumers as a community.
In addition to reducing meat and dairy consumption, our Sustainable Food Commitment also promotes eating more organic foods, buying local and locally grown, avoiding processed foods, minimizing packaging and reducing food waste.
In fact, one of Santa Monica’s Councilmembers has been a 25+ year vegetarian. When asked about his experience being vegetarian in Santa Monica, Councilmember Kevin McKeown had this to say:
Question: Why did you decide to become vegetarian?
Councilmember Kevin McKeown: Once I realized my own body could create all the protein I need from plant-based foods, raising and killing animals seemed wasteful and ethically suspect. Living on a ranch in hard-scrabble open country where cattle-grazing concentrates food for human survival is one thing, but I live just a short bike ride from the best farmers’ markets in the country.
Q: What are some of the benefits of being vegetarian that you have experienced?
KM: I feel healthier, more energetic, and better connected to life. I can look any living creature right in the eye, because my personal rule is that I won’t eat anything that used to have a face (and I don’t eat oysters, either).
Q: Additionally, what has the experience been like as a vegetarian in Santa Monica?
KM: Far more than other parts of the country and the world, Santa Monica offers a rich and tasty menu of vegetarian options. An increase in plant-based food availability has long been part of Santa Monica’s famous Sustainable City Plan, because meat production is extremely water and energy intensive.
Q: Any advice you would give to meat-eater looking to incorporate more plant-rich meals into their diet?
KM: I made a clean cut from meat, poultry, and fish – I guess you could say I went cold tofurkey – but someone experimenting with vegetarianism could certainly start slow, just exploring some meat-free options a day or two a week. Being vegetarian doesn’t mean getting stuck with salads and side dishes. You’ll be amazed at all the filling, tasty options you’ll find once you start looking and stop assuming a meal must mean meat.
Don’t just read about it, experience it for yourself. Join us and learn more about Meatless in March. The City of Santa Monica will be hosting a screening of Wasted! The Story of Food Waste on February 28th at 7:00pm at the Aero Theater.
For more information about Meatless in March including the scavenger hunt, events, and resources, visit www.sustainablesm.org/meatlessinmarch.