May 1, 2023
Over the past year, CAA’s Wholesome Minnesota program has focused on working with student environmental groups. The education, support and empowerment we offer has helped jumpstart great progress! Plant-based school meals are being instituted and students are educating their peers on the issue.
Wholesome Minnesota began meeting with environmental groups at two Bloomington High Schools. Discussions have covered the environment, inclusivity and the connection to plant-based eating.
The students have been particularly interested in plant-based nutrition and cooking. Wholesome MN and Support and Feed partnered to provide their meetings with vegan food. This included meals from The Herbivorous Butcher, J. Selby’s and HEAL.
Students have dedicated themselves to educating other students about plant-based foods. They presented their “Inclusive Lunch Proposal” to the Bloomington Public Schools School Board. The students’ voices were heard! Kennedy High School now has black bean burgers on the menu three times a week and a salad bar every day.
On Earth Day, these students gave out seedlings and plant-based granola to their classmates. They encouraged them to take a survey on plant-based school meals. It helped spread the word about the environmental benefits of plant-based food. A video was shown on the school morning newscast showcasing their efforts.
There was also success from Wholesome MN’s work with the Westonka High School Green Team. After a presentation, students asked for some plant-based options for school meals. And got them! Based on their input, the Nutrition Director added a veggie burger and vegan chicken nuggets, one day each week.
Wholesome Minnesota director Jodi Gruhn has also worked with other schools. Jodi presented at the Apple Valley School for Environmental Studies in March. In addition, she gave two sessions for their celebration of Earth Week. She offered students a new way to advocate for the environment.
This work is part of Wholesome Minnesota’s goal to reduce consumption of animal products in Minnesota institutions. In addition to working with students, Jodi has also contacted School Nutrition directors. Last month she was the keynote speaker at their annual conference in partnership with Christine Coughlin, of the Forward Food Program of the Humane Society of the United States, Wholesome MN is also working with area hospitals to try and reduce animal products in their cafeterias as well.