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Let's eat.

From Big Sur's killer cliff-clinging eateries to Salinas' unparalleled produce, this blog aims to sniff out all things Monterey County can stomach, via picture and prose, curiosity and appetite, hand and mouth.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Don't Have a Cow: Meatless Mondays

Ah, college.

Dorm food. Top Ramen. Microwave burritos. Cold pizza.

Not here.

Between the landmark service learning, the state-of-the-art library and the disc golf dominance, CSU Monterey Bay was already a progressive place. Now that they are giving students another sustainable eating option, life as an Otter is even healthier. Not too long after Sodexo made CSUMB one of the first college campuses in the country to go organic, now they are highlighting meatless options at all four on-campus Otter outposts every Monday for the school year.

The aim isn't to take away the carnitas burritos and greasy cheeseburgers, just provide more moving alternatives.

"The idea is to add vegetarian options and to make them visible," says Jennifer Harris, Sodexo's campus marketing and sustainability manager.

The Dining Commons now has a special serving station for vegetarian fare. The library café features veggie hummus wraps, the Otter Express (582-5007) offers veggie sandwiches and the Otter Bay Restaurant (582-5020) has a new Meatless Monday options every week.

The move looks like a no-brainer given tastes trending fresher and lighter as evidence mounts that eating plants, in modest amounts, is the way to eat right by ourselves and the planet. And that trend is particularly strong among students of all ages.

Sodexo realizes that it only helps them to position themselves as a supplier with green savvy.

"Did you know that it takes 2,500 gallons of water to make one pound of beef?" Sodexo's Harris asks.

The Otter play also reflects a national trend, according to CSUMB reps, who says pioneers of the MM-on-campus idea include UC Davis, Yale University and the Baltimore City Schools. The efforts, unsurprisingly, are student-led.

More (vegetarian) nuggets from the press release I received:

We still aren't fruity enough as a society. "This month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a study of fruit and vegetable consumption. It found that only 26 percent of adults eat vegetables three or more times a day—which falls far short of guidelines set by the federal government. When it comes to fruits and vegetables, the average American eats less than half of what public health officials suggest. And that figure hasn't budged since 2000."

The idea ain't new. "During World War I, people were urged to skip meat one day a week as a rationing effort. Now, that idea has been reinvented as a hip, easy way to be environmentally friendly and health conscious."

There's a little momentum going on the former Fort Ord. "At CSUMB, students can sign a pledge to go meatless. So far, over 500 students have taken the pledge."

Hot chefs are feeling it too. "And it's not just schools that have signed on to the idea. When celebrity chef Mario Batali starts to push people to eat their vegetables, you know something is happening. According to the Washington Post, the famous chef and restaurant owner has joined the Meatless Monday movement, which is backed by a broad array of public-health advocates."