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Meatless Mondays: Our year in review
13th Jan

2016

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Meatless Mondays: Our year in review
VegFest attendees trying Beyond Meat - October

VegFest attendees trying Beyond Meat – complete with our very own photo-bomber!

Here is why we are proud of 2015

More and more, people are interested in finding creative and satisfying ways to fill their plates with plant-heavy proteins and delicious alternatives to animal products.  Triangle Meatless Monday was happy to help our community along the path in many ways, highlighted below.

In 2015, we:

Promoted plant-based health through speaking engagements

We worked closely with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to bring the famous Frances Moore Lappe, author of Diet for a Small Planet (which launched the movement to reduce meat intake based on environmental impact) to speak at their “Cutting Edge Speaking Series.” At the talk, we discussed ways individuals can take action for the environment and their health by trying meat-free on Mondays. The EPA provided a plant-based meal in their cafeteria and continued to carry Veg Starter Kits.  Read our summary here.

Eleni, Frances, and Leeanne

Eleni Vlachos, Frances Moore Lappe, and Leeanne S.

Triangle Meatless Monday was also happy to promote the annual Plant-Based Prevention of Disease conference, interviewing committee member and registered dietitian and nutritionist Parul Kharod, MS, RD, LDN. Read the entire interview here.

Continued community outreach

A big part of our effort is connecting with our Triangle community.  We are happy to welcome almost 200 more people to our Facebook page, and even more through festivals.

We encouraged our community to “try Meatless Monday” at Durham’s PRIDE festival, Earth Day, and at VegFest in Raleigh.

9 team john helene 5 me table

We handed out over 3,000 samples of Beyond Meat, 1,000 booklets on delicious alternatives to meat, and got almost 400 people to pledge to eat meat-free meals on Monday.

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Read more about our outreach at Durham’s PRIDE festival here.

In addition to festivals, Triangle Meatless Monday continues to maintain a presence at the downtown Durham Public Library, the Durham YMCA (downtown and American Tobacco), the Parlour in Durham, and now, Cameron Library (thanks to volunteer Kaitlin!) by stocking our free Meatless Monday and Vegetarian Starter Kits, which contain recipes and health information for those looking to get started with meatless meals.

We were also happy to see the Durham Coop launch a weekly “Meatless Monday” buffet, with completely plant-based options, every Monday.  The community are welcome and encouraged to attend and join our (ever-growing) table of participants.

Meals include comfort foods such as “chickenless pot pie” and “seitan mac & cheese,” as well as lighter healthier fare (Thai-inspired veggies, delicious bean curries).

CoopMMDinners

The longest tables ever at the Durham Co-Op’s weekly “Meatless Monday” dinners!  See our Facebook page for the menu each week.

We also encouraged people to adopt a meat-free Monday in 2016 as a New Year’s resolution with our cookbook giveaway in December.

Sharing other related community organizations is important to us.  In addition to PPOD, we interviewed the leader of the Triangle VegFest and co-creators of Veggie Product Review, as well as supported our participating restaurants and sharing updates through our bi-monthly newsletters.

Began collaboration to launch Meatless Monday in Schools across North Carolina

Together with volunteers and the Humane League, Charlotte, we helped launch a group focusing efforts on introducing Meatless Mondays to school districts across North Carolina. Exciting news this year as we discovered Durham Public Schools introduced Meatless Monday to the District, and now offer meat-free meals each Monday.  Adding alternatives to meat across the State would be a huge win for both schools (it is shown to cut costs, as well) and student health.  We hope that districts in North Carolina join some of the nations largest school districts that have instituted Meatless Mondays, including the Los Angeles Unified School District, Detroit Public Schools, and Baltimore City Public School System.

 Created tools for other cities to inspire more meat-free options at restaurants

In 2015, in addition to adding more restaurants to our growing list of participants, we launched a special “Chef Challenge” page with instructions for others to create a challenge in their own towns.  We also created a special videos to show restaurants and chefs that demonstrates the value of participating.  With planning underway for 2016, we are happy to tell you Triangle Meatless Monday will be co-sponsoring the 4th Bull City Vegan (Chef) Challenge.  Learn more about the Challenge (and see our sweet video!) here.

We also helped launch a local “Vegan Drinks” chapter, a social meetup for everyone (not just vegans) and helped encourage restaurants to offer a plant-based special, like the delicious “El Greco” offered by Parts & Labor.

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Some of our “Vegan Drinks” participants and locations in 2015

Received Award & Recognition

We are pleased to announce that one of our organizers, Eleni Vlachos (author of this post) was given the first annual Lisa Shapiro award, which recognizes individuals who have contributed to the field of animal advocacy in their local communities. In the Triangle, our very own Triangle Vegetarian Society selects and funds the award. Eleni has chosen to use the $250 to continue working on Meatless Monday efforts each and every Monday.  Big thanks to Dilip Barman, who tirelessly runs TVS, who presented the award.

This year, Eleni and Triangle Meatless Monday were also featured in the News and Observer in an article by Lisa Sorg.

We couldn’t do it without YOU

Triangle Meatless Monday — co-organizers Leeanne and Eleni — would like to thank all of our community who volunteered this year:

TMMVolunteers

Thank you to, clockwise from top left: Alex, Erin & Tom, Amanda, John, & Micah,  John & Helene,  Lenore (Piedmont Farm Animal Sanctuary), Laura, & Mary, Matt & Jennie,  and (not pictured) Maitri, Kaitlin, Maddie, and of course Leeanne!

Wow!

It’s been a great year.

Stay tuned for upcoming events, including the aforementioned Bull City Vegan Chef Challenge.

In the meantime, are you interested in helping add a “Meatless Monday” option to your child’s school (or your own school)? Get in touch!