California State Assembly Committee on Education Chair Patrick O’Donnell garnered a round of laughter as he introduced what he calls, “The Vegan Bill,” otherwise known as CA Assembly Bill 479.
The bill, authored by Assembly Members Nazarian and Kalra, would establish within the California Department of Education (CDE), incentives for making plant-based food and beverages for students. Under the bill, schools could receive a reimbursement (amount to be determined) for plant-based meals and beverages that are above the baseline offered during the 2018-2019 school year.
[Animal products sold in public schools are already heavily subsidized via money given to farmers who grow feed for animals via The Farm Bill.]
Schools would need to do more to promote plant-based foods than they’re already doing; this bill provides the incentive.
CA AB 479 would also require the California Department of Education to provide competitive grants to contract with third parties for professional development training for school site staff and the collection of baseline data.
I wrote letters urging legislative members to vote “Yes”, visited the assembly members’ offices, and voiced my support at yesterday’s California Assembly Committee on Education meeting.
For SO many reasons, this bill needs to pass, and I’m determined to make sure it does! An entire book – and more – could be written on the reasons why plant-based meals belong in schools: health, environment, animals, social justice, the economy; I could go on and on.
I speak on the issue often.
Please note, despite what you may hear in other news outlets, this bill, unfortunately, does not mandate that students have the right to a plant based option.
This bill helps schools offer plant based meals, and my hope is that after seeing successful results, we can ask for the “right” to a plant-based meal next year, just as last year’s CA SB 1139 (which was signed into law) mandates the option of a plant based meal to those in hospitals and prisons.
The bill, with a few amendments that led to zero opposition, will now travel to the California State Assembly Committee on Appropriations; that’s where the financial impact is determined.
Please stay tuned, as this committee will likely be more difficult to get through, but with your support, we can do it!
As I always say, “You can’t use a calculator in a coffin” – it’s true! Wellness is the foundation of education. Knowing who won WW2 or how to solve the quadratic equation doesn’t really matter if you’re chronically ill, or dead.
Let’s get more healthy fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, beans, grains and legumes into school meals! SUPPORT CA AB 479
Jackie Day, vegan for 30+ years and author of the bestseller The Vegan Way: 21 Days to a Happier, Healthier Plant-Based Lifestyle That Will Transform Your Home, Your Diet, and You (St. Martin’s Press / Macmillan).