Leeds City Council has committed to providing vegetarian and vegan meals at 180 schools as part of its commitment to halve its carbon footprint by 2025, as reported by Leeds Live.
The local authority’s ambitious plans are for it to reach net-zero carbon emissions by the end of the decade. The plans have been costed at £200 million. The vegetarian and vegan meals initiative form part of this initiative.
The new school menus will include one non-meat day and one vegetarian day each week. In addition, the schools will provide more vegan dishes for those who choose them. As a general offering, the schools will also provide extra fruit and vegetables, including raw vegetable sticks.
“Leeds pupils are taste-testing new environmentally-friendly school dinner menus in a project led by Catering Leeds,” according to a council report.
“The aim is to reduce the city’s carbon footprint, and ensure that pupils enjoy even healthier meals with extra vegetable content.”
Each of the 182 primary schools that are within Catering Leeds Children’s remit will be given the choice to sign up to the new menus.
After extensive consultation, it was discovered that 95 per cent of youngsters said that they would not have a problem with one meat-free day a week.
The £250 million programme includes initiatives on recycling and tackling food waste by educating children on these issues, and teaching them how small changes at home can make a difference. The council will also install solar panels on council houses.
The changes will be finalised in the next few months.