Eat for the Earth Communities
Eat for the Earth Communities is an initiative that decreases food-related, consumption-based greenhouse gas emissions through grassroots activism. We leverage the power, creativity, and positive impact of activists taking supported, collaborative, effective action in their communities to support dietary change.
As activists, we know that effective grassroots activism requires sound information, access to resources, and a supportive community in which to share inspiration, celebration, frustration, ideas, and accountability. This is why we launched Eat for the Earth Communities.
Our two launch events confirmed the power of this idea. We created a context in which activists from many areas were able to connect, share inspirational ideas, give input about what they need to be effective, and begin to form a cohesive, supportive community. At the end, each person made a commitment to a specific action, and was provided with the means to stay connected and supported. The excitement was palpable!
People chose actions that varied tremendously according to the activists’ interests, capacities, and contexts. The common thread is that all of the actions support a dietary shift towards more plants and less animal products. In order to bring about this dietary change that multiple peer-reviewed studies show is essential for keeping global warming under 1.5–2º C, we need transformation of both community awareness and institutional practices. Therefore, most of the projects involve education, systems change, or both. For example, some activists committed to hold educational events or start blogs; others committed to a first step in advocating for changes in food procurement practices in businesses, schools, or governments.
We will continue growing the community via additional introductory events, our mailing list, and other channels. Together we will catalyze powerful change in our communities! Please let us know if you are interested in joining Eat for the Earth Communities!
Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors
Eat for the Earth has submitted five requests to the County Board of Supervisors. These requests outline policy and practice changes that, if adopted in whole or in part, will reduce our county’s contribution to food-related, consumption-based greenhouse gas emissions.
We are currently in the process of preparing for meetings with the Supervisors, most of which have been scheduled. We have also made a formal request to the county’s Commission on the Environment, asking them to endorse our proposal to the Board of Supervisors. You can show your support for our requests by clicking on the button below and endorsing Eat for the Earth’s proposal.
Our Five Requests to the Board of Supervisors:
- Inclusion in Climate Action Strategy: Account for consumption-based emissions in update of Climate Action Strategy.
- Food Procurement: Reduce animal product purchases by 50% in any County food procurement over which the Board of Supervisors has direct authority.
- Modeling: Serve plant-based whenever you have food together as a Board.
- Public Education: Allocate funding for public education on the potential of plant-based diets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. We suggest $47,000 per year.
- Contractors: We suggest a phased approach, with provision of support before making any mandates.
- Phase 1: Encourage all nonprofit and for-profit organizations that do business with the county to reduce purchasing and serving of animal products.
- Phase 2: Investigate ways to support contractors that provide food to people in custodial care, whether in foster care, nursing homes, residential drug rehabilitation or mental health programs, etc. to reduce purchasing and serving of animal products, for example through education, joint food purchasing, grants, or other resources.
- Phase 3: For contractors with custodial care programs, adopt a phased in approach of mandated reductions in animal products purchased with county contract dollars.
Most of these policies and practices have already been introduced into legislation and/or adopted by other governmental entities. Our fifth request, regarding county contractors, may be a first, should the supervisors adopt it.
Santa Cruz County Jail Food
Eat for the Earth is in a conversation with the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s office about making changes in the food served to the inmates. These changes would align with our mission of increasing the sustainability of foods purchased and served in our county, and would also have the potential to decrease violence and aggression, improve inmate health, and reduce costs associated with health care for inmates.
There are many barriers to making jail food changes, including cost, state laws related to inmate diets, and practical considerations for food service in the current facilities. Whether we can succeed in improving jail food is unknown, however it is a worthy cause that could result in numerous great outcomes. Please let us know f you are interested in helping.
Eat for the Earth volunteers are working inside a local hospital, a local school, and a local school district with the intent of inspiring changes in their food policies toward more sustainable, healthier foods. Let us know if you are interested in getting involved in these efforts!
Benefits of Plant-Rich and Plant-Based Eating
Eat for the Earth encourages institutions to increase purchases of plant foods and decrease purchases of animal products because such a shift is a necessary part of living within the boundaries of Earth’s environment. By adopting and maintaining a plant-based or plant-rich diet, you can take part in the work of countering climate change and reducing species extinction, deforestation, air and water pollution, land degradation, and many other environmental problems.
There are many additional benefits to reducing animal product consumption or going all the way to plant-based. Among these are:
- Improving human health: Plant-based diets have been shown to reduce the incidence of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, many cancers, high blood pressure, stroke, and many other diseases.
- Reducing world hunger: Because of land use alone, if everyone in the world ate as the average US citizen does, we would need 137% of all of the habitable land on earth to feed our entire global family! Growing animals for food also requires more water, fertilizers, fuel, and other resources than does growing plants to feed directly to people.
- Saving money: A plant-based diet that emphasizes whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains is less expensive than diets centered around meat, dairy, fish, and eggs.
- Being compassionate: Raising and killing animals for food involves horrendous suffering for the animals and many of the workers.
- Enjoying the flavor: There is a tremendous, growing interest in the great variety of flavorful plant-based foods!