Norwalk School District, CT, leads the way

Norwalk Public Schools are upgrading their school lunch menu to include a daily vegan entrée.  They were already offering veggie burgers, vegetable-based “chik’n” nuggets, hummus or black beans and corn over chips, chickpea salad, crumbled Impossible beef nacho topping, and sunflower seed butter and jelly sandwiches. But many of these options contained animal-based ingredients that were not vegan-friendly.

They are now adding sweet and crunchy chickpea wraps, Impossible burgers, and a Mediterranean salad. This change makes buying lunch more accessible for students with dietary restrictions, making it more fair and considerate for students who otherwise had to bring their lunches from home.

The nonprofit “Friends of Animals” coordinated with school board member, Kara Nelson Baekey, to emphasize the importance of inclusive meals that can serve not just vegans, but also students with allergies or dairy intolerance. “It’s so important that we as a district walk the walk when talking about equity and inclusion for all students,”  Baekey said in a statement. “Dietary needs and preferences are an area that most don’t consider when thinking about these commitments, so thank you to Friends of Animals for bringing it to our attention…”

The vegan options are available to all students, regardless of their dietary choices. Beyond increased inclusivity for students with varying diets, the menu embraces environmentalism, acknowledging that animal farming contributes to greenhouse gas emissions.