STUDY: OUSD’s plan to reduce meat and dairy in school lunches pays off

A new case study from Friends of the Earth shows that reducing meat and cheese in school lunches doesn’t just save money, it also proves an effective strategy for mitigating climate change by reducing the carbon footprint of the school.

Friends of the Earth Partnered with Oakland, California’s Unified School District for this case study, which showed that a 30 percent reduction in meat, poultry, and cheese purchases over two years shrank the district’s carbon footprint by 14 percent and saved it 42 million gallons of water annually.

The report found that if every school district in the nation took similar action, the greenhouse gas reductions would be comparable to taking 150,000 cars off the road every year.

“This is a landmark moment for school food,” said Jennifer LeBarre, executive director of nutrition services for Oakland Unified School District, in a news release. “We were so excited to see how the data showed that we could reduce our carbon and water footprint by serving healthy, delicious food – like the vegetarian tostadas with fresh made in-house salsa, that kids absolutely love – all while saving money.’’

The initiative resulted in $42,000 in savings for the school district, allowing it to spend more on healthy fruits, vegetables, and organic pastured beef from Mindful Meats, a Northern California company that sources meat from dairy cows.

 

Read the full story at Organic Authority.

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