Where's the Beef? On Mondays, it's Not on the Menu at an East Village School

By Suzanne Ma on March 15, 2010 3:03pm | Updated on March 15, 2010 6:14am

Vegetarian black bean chili was on the menu this Monday at the East Village Community School's cafeteria.
Vegetarian black bean chili was on the menu this Monday at the East Village Community School's cafeteria.
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Flickr/spacekadet

By Suzanne Ma

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

EAST VILLAGE — Children at an East Village school are saying "no" to hamburgers and beef patties, and are lining up for the salad bar instead.

The East Village Community School, which shares a cafeteria with P.S. 94 and the Children's Workshop School, has adopted "Meatless Monday," a public health initiative from the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. On the menu this Monday: black bean chili, spaghetti with tomato sauce and veggie burgers.

"We really want to push our kids to go for healthier options," said vice principal Bradley Goodman. "To give them alternatives to meat and let them know there other delicious vegetarian foods out there."

The decision to go meatless on Mondays is just one of several initiatives the school has taken on to create a healthier and more eco-friendly community for the children, Goodman said.

Last year, all three schools raised money to purchase compostable trays made of sugar cane pulp instead of the Department of Education's standard Styrofoam trays, which are not recyclable and not biodegradable.

"Department of Education schools use 850,000 trays that go into a landfill every day," Goodman said. "Our school decided that was no longer acceptable."

The school has also banned all food products containing ground beef, after reading a recent New York Times article about the dangers of E. coli contamination.

"People are pretty fired up about this," Goodman said. "They don't want to be eating substandard food products."

Earlier this month, shortly after the East Village Community School adopted Meatless Mondays, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer called on all city schools to join in.

"We can’t legislate — nor should we — what people eat," Stringer told NPR. "But we can offer people smart food options so they can make informed decisions.”

The Department of Education provides all public schools in the borough with a vegetarian menu option, a spokeswoman told DNAinfo.

It's up to the schools, she said, to adopt it.

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