In an effort to battle climate change, the city is committing to 50% of the meals the city offers will be plant-based by 2024.
The city of Berkeley, California passed a resolution on July 27, 2021 requiring the city to offer plant-based foods, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes/beans, nuts and seeds to all public buildings by 2024. The city will offer plant-based foods at all public events, senior centers, jails and city buildings. The resolution does not apply to any of the public schools, which is run as an independent school district.
Based on the resolution, the city will strive to cut in half its spending on animal-based products (e.g. meat, milk and dairy products) by 2024. The city council is also committing to review plans by next summer whether the city can achieve 100% plant-based food sources. Cutting meat and dairy consumption is part of Berkeley’s efforts to combat climate change by cutting greenhouse gas emissions and reducing water usage.
Berkeley's Mayor Jesse Arrequín and Councilmember Sophie Hahn co-authored the measure and helped get it passed. Berkeley-based animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) has been advocating for this measure since March 2020 and helped push it over the finish line. DxE staged protests and organized a letter writing campaign to council members showcasing the environmental impact of animal agriculture. DxE advocated for the city to serve 100% plant-based food, but city officials were not ready to fully commit without further feasibility studies. DxE is working on similar policies in other cities, including San Francisco and Chicago.
For anyone interested in advocating for more plant-based foods in your local communities and animal rights, feel free to join a local DxE chapter or even start one. You can find the nearest chapter here.
According to Harvard University Dr. Erica Chenowith's research, no society or government has withstood a challenge of 3.5% of its population mobilized nonviolently against it during a peak event. Similarly, societies are permanently changed when just 3.5% of the population actively commits to nonviolent methods of change. By supporting and promoting URImpact, you are helping to mobilize 3.5% of our generation to take incremental, active steps to combat climate change.
Societies are permanently changed when just 3.5% of the population actively commits to nonviolent methods of change.
Berkeley can become the first city in the US to transition to a 100% plant-based food purchasing program. Other cities worldwide have already done so; we need to follow.