Imagine Italy. Now imagine an entirely vegetarian city in Italy. That’s the goal of the new mayor of Turin, Italy’s fourth largest city. She’s a member of a new political force in Italy that has made promoting a vegetarian diet a basic part of their platform, which states: “The promotion of vegan and vegetarian diets is a fundamental act in safeguarding the environment, people’s health and the welfare of our animals.”
She’s serious. Mayor Chiara Appendino released a 62-page manifesto this week which detailed how she plans to make promoting vegan and vegetarian diets a ‘priority’.
The new administration intends to teach Turin’s schoolchildren about the impact that eating meat has on the environment, from the intensive use of water to the production of greenhouse gases. “Leading medical, nutritional and political experts will help promote a culture of respect in our schools, teaching children how to eat well while protecting the earth and animal rights.”
If Italy’s Chiara Appendino has her way, the whole city of 870,000 (that’s bigger than Seattle), that hosted the Winter Olympics in 2006, will be meat-free within five years. Italy’s food culture is shifting. Younger Italians are more open to trying new foods, and immigrants have brought different cuisines with them from around the world. Meanwhile about 30 vegetarian or vegan restaurants have recently opened in Turin within the past few years. Of course, proponents for the vegetarian way have been present throughout Italian history. For instance founding father Garibaldi was an enthusiastic vegetarian and even founded an animal welfare society that’s still going strong.
Of course, this noble goal is easier said than done, and there are some who don’t want to go along with the idea. The mayor and town council can only do so much, but still this is the first major European city to undertake and implement such a plan. All we can say is “Tanti Auguri” which is Italian for lots of good wishes, and we would love for Seattle to be next. Mayor Ed Murray, how ‘bout it?