“Reducetarian“, “Flexetarian“, “Plant-Forward“, “Meatless Monday”– whatever you call it, there is a growing movement across the United States (and around the world!) to eat less meat. A recent study in the journal Public Health Nutrition found that 2/3 of people reported eating less of at least one type of meat, so it was no surprise to see lots of people advocating for more delicious, more affordable vegetarian and vegan options on campus:
Aligning with CSULB’s sustainability and student wellbeing goals were the primary benefits cited for this change. Researchers at Oxford University have now suggested that “climate change cannot be sufficiently mitigated without dietary changes towards more plant-based diets.” So what might that look like at CSULB?
There are a number of great resources already developed to help large food service providers transition to more plant-foward menus. For example, the Menus of Change initiative from the Culinary Institute of America and Harvard School of Public health. The plant-forward menu approach at CSULB could be twofold: work with the campus’s existing residential dining and catering providers, as well as encourage new forms of smaller-scale entrepreneurship. (There is a great blog post highlighting some of the ideas related to creating space for growing food on campus here! )
A recent report from GrubHub, found that vegan food deliveries rose 19% over the past year, and the growing demand is being met by a variety of startups with plant-based meal-kit and meal-delivery options. Drawing on this growing popularity of meal-prep / meal-kit companies, player Betsy suggested campus dining meal-prep boxes, to which player Bo responded with the idea for those meal boxes to be personalized to health and aligned with learning objectives or climate action goals.
And for students who don’t have kitchens, they might be able to prepare their meal kits in one of these repurposed-parking-lot spaces imagined by Laura:
We know that creating vibrant student life on campus revolves around food. Making those food options reflect campus culture, student diversity, and local entrepreneurs could be a great way to strengthen that.
But even if there are tons of healthy, plant-forward, delicious food options – many people are asking for them to extend hours of operation to nights and weekends in order to make the campus a more thriving place.
One way to justify the late-night hours? Make the restaurants highly sought after destinations for everyone in Long Beach and attract top chefs (who focus on plant-based menus, of course!)