LAUSD To Begin Vegan Lunch Pilot Program This Fall

The LAUSD will be piloting a vegan school lunch program beginning this August. During the school board's meeting on Tuesday, Board President Steve Zimmer will call to expand the district's vegan lunch option, reports KPCC.

In 2013, the LAUSD, the nation's second-largest school district with over 1,100 schools and 734,000 students, began "Meatless Mondays," in which the schools only served vegetable-based foods in the cafeteria. In 2016, the School Board moved away from chicken products with antibiotics and hormones.

“The passing of the resolution shows the bold steps this school district is taking to ensure the health and wellness of students,” Laura Benavidez, co-director of the district's food services division said at the time in a press release. “Providing the best possible, highest-quality food for students shouldn’t be a privilege, it should be a right.”

In June of 2016, 14-year-old student Lila Copeland launched a campaign to bring vegan lunches to the district. Her Healthy Freedom campaign ended up drawing support from actress Pamela Anderson, who appeared at a school board meeting to make her case.

"As a mother, it was important to me to be here because we are presented with a unique opportunity to help this generation of young people become more compassionate, be kinder to the environment, and make healthier lifestyle choices," said Anderson. "Kids today are appalled to learn that animals killed for cheeseburgers and chicken nuggets live crowded by the thousands in dark, filthy sheds, are mutilated, and are slaughtered by having their throats slit while they are still conscious."

“We have had a demand and when we get a demand like this from our community, we institute a pilot to find out is this something that we really could implement district wide,” Zimmer, himself a vegetarian, told KPCC recently. He added that the lunches will not be more expensive for students.

LAist reached out to LAUSD for this story, but has yet to hear back by the time of this post.