International Non-Profit Brings Vegan Meals to Schools to Combat Childhood Obesity

International Non-Profit Brings Vegan Meals to Schools to Combat Childhood Obesity

In a world increasingly concerned with public health, the environment, and the welfare of animals, ProVeg International is working to tackle these issues by reducing global animal consumption by 50 percent by the year 2040.

The food awareness organization aims to achieve this by encouraging people to choose delicious, healthy, sustainable vegan food. It operates across four continents, with plans to keep expanding. Campaign manager of ProVeg International Amy Odene spoke with LIVEKINDLY about the organization’s vision and her role within the company.

“We focus on making the most change in the most effective way; as a part of this ethos we often refer to our work as ‘influencing the influencer,'” she explained. “This means that our work tackles issues at an industry, political, governmental, and policy level.”

As part of this mission, ProVeg launched its School Plates programme that sees the organization working with schools, local councils, and catering companies to introduce more plant-based options to school menus. The shift includes just five small menu changes that will offer a lowered impact on the planet, help to save money, and improve the health of schoolchildren.

Public Health England recently reported that childhood obesity is at its highest ever. Similarly, the World Health Organization named childhood obesity as one of the world’s most “serious public health challenges” of our time, issues that ProVeg is working to combat with its School Plates initiative. So far, ProVeg has secured 3.1 million meals that will be changed from meat-based to meat-free over the next year, Odene revealed. “We knew the power of the School Plates programme, but figures like these are staggering to achieve,” she said. “And the best bit, is that we have only just begun … soon enough we expect the figure to hit double figures.”

Odene went vegan alongside her partner after watching the documentary “Vegucated,” that explores the disconnect between consuming meat and farm animals, as well as the ethical, environmental, and health benefits of a plant-based diet. “We had no view on the damage animal agriculture causes and once our eyes were opened, we have never turned back,” she said. “It is one of those moments where you reassess and realise that whilst I thought I was living a relatively conscious and compassionate life, there is so much I don’t know and educating myself and having a thirst for new knowledge is invaluable in order to uncover these unconscious habits.”

Working with ProVeg allows Odene to expand this notion, helping to pass the movement onto others. “I truly feel I have the ability to promote world change,” she said of ProVeg, adding that her position is “incredibly privileged and humbling.”

The company aims to make veganism as accessible as possible. “We at ProVeg would encourage compassionate and kind interactions where veganism is portrayed pragmatically and is seen to be achievable by all,” she explained.

She added that all movements toward a plant-based lifestyle are celebrated, providing support throughout “the entire journey.”

Those who are interested in introducing more vegan food at their schools are encouraged to reach out to ProVeg, speak with the head of food services at their local council, or approach a head teacher or school caterer.

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