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From Brittany

by on May 1, 2013

From Brittany

I found this article from ABC news titled “NYC Elementary School Adopts All-Vegetarian Menu” to be extremely interesting, especially after reading our book by Foer. I thought the technique they used to adjust the children, who are from pre-k to 3rd grade, to an all vegetarian diet was very unique. I am curious if anyone has opinions regarding the implementation an all vegetarian menu, especially imposing such views/eating habits on children during their developmental years; and if this is something we will most likely be seeing more of across our nation in the future?

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  1. DannyTierney2016 permalink

    Though we just read Foer, and are pretty educated about the factory farm system, I’m not sure I completely agree with this decision of a school to implement a vegetarian menu. I’ve been given the information about the slaughter of animals and their mistreatment, while on one hand it did affect me; I still choose to eat a certain way. I know a vegetarian lifestyle is much healthier, but these kids, especially at their young ages should be able to learn themselves how they feel about a position. Once educated and given all the facts, people should be able to individually decide how they want to eat. Like we learned in the beginning of our unit on food, food is more than just food. It represents many other things and is a way we can connect to other people. These kids should be able to form their own views on food and the school, who thought has the right intentions, I think went a little too far.
    That being said, I’m not saying that I think vegetarianism is wrong, because it is not. After Foer’s book we all know most people eat way more meat than they should and eating plants is healthier. These facts still mean that institutions should start implementing rules about what people are allowed to eat.

  2. Although I think they have the right intentions, I don’t think this is a good thing to do. Basically, they are forcing kids who want to buy the school lunch to eat meat. Although we learned about factory farming and the lack of sustainability that these farms create, I don’t think we should force people to become vegetarian. I do think that it was a good idea to have vegetarian meals a couple days a week. I feel like this lowers consumption yet still allows those who want to eat meat to eat it once and a while. I also believe that eating a little bit of meat is essential for a good diet, and I think that going completely vegetarian is limiting these childrens’ dietary intakes. I could think of the parallel with Kimball. People would be outraged if Kimball served only vegetarian food. I just think that a meat option should be available at least some of the days for school lunches.

    I like the idea of schools buying locally a lot more than this vegetarian option. Although I know it is incredibly expensive, if one were to buy more ingredients locally, I think it would help decrease the lack of sustainability of our current food system.

  3. I thought this was a very interesting idea. I can imagine that it is extremely controversial for some parents. Although I cannot say it is a bad thing, I do think that imposing such rules may create moral judgement surrounding meat eaters. I would agree with Foer that eating meat is very harmful in many ways, but I cannot get past the idea that we should look at peoples decisions on what to eat as a moral decision. I think that we should definitely be encouraged to become closer to the food that we eat, so that children can learn more about what goes into our food and then make educated decisions on their own.

  4. ginner35 permalink

    Although this is an interesting idea by the school to incorporate an all-vegetarian menu I don’t agree with it. I think it should be up to children and their family as to what they eat and not forced into becoming a vegetarian by the schoolboard. They take the side that Foer did in his book about the harm that eating meat has, but I am still pretty skeptical about that. We should be educated about what we are eating and the harmful effects that the food may have on us, but it should be up to us as to what we eat. I don’t think the schoolboard should be able to force on children what they eat. There is nothing wrong with having vegetarian options, but if a child likes meat they should be allowed to eat it.

  5. I agree with everyone else who raised their concerns about having the freedom to choose the types of food they eat, however, elementary school children have not received the education to make these ethical choices on their own yet. I know that my younger cousins are taught about the food pyramid, but they do not even know factory farms exist. At their age, my aunt and uncle decide what they are and are not allowed to eat when they are at home. Frequently, my aunt, uncle, and other parents with children in the area voice their disapproval when the school serves sweets and other unhealthy options.

    I believe that if the public school in New York City serves a well balanced vegetarian diet, that is perfectly fine. Kids need protein and they are able to get that when they eat tofu, beans and cheese which are all offered at the school, according to the article. A few people said that the school board is forcing children to become vegetarians. I do not agree with that statement because kids can still eat meat at home for dinner or at school if they bring lunch. I think it is extreme to only offer vegetarian options. In my opinion, the school should at least offer meat once or twice a week.

  6. I admire the initiative this school has taken in adjusting the children’s menu to an all vegetarian selection, but the it could have been implemented better. There is absolutely nothing wrong in wanting our children to eat healthier, but this cannot be forced upon them. By taking this route, the school has eliminated parents from the conversation in terms of what they are better ways of improving their children’s eating habits. There is a strong chance that this program could work out for the best by introducing a vegetarian diet to these kids at a young age, but they should still have the option of choosing that meal plan. It seems like a hit or miss type of deal as these kids are forced into a vegetarian diet, but are not educated about other forms of dieting they can partake in wanting to eat healthy. This program gets an A for effort, but the vegetarian lifestyle should be a personal choice and not an enforcement by the state.

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