Supporting the Health of North Carolina’s Kids and the Earth.
OMD’s North Carolina pilot program is catalyzing plant-based school lunch reform to support growing kids. Led by OMD’s North Carolina Field Organizer, Zakiyaa Taylor, our goal is to support K-12 districts across the state to equitably increase access to healthy, climate-friendly foods.
Food not only has the power to nourish the body, it also has the power to help protect our wild, living Earth. That’s why we’re partnering with dedicated, passionate people and ally organizations across the state to help school districts serve plant-based meal options each day.
Why North Carolina?
For Healthier Kids.
One in five children in North Carolina suffers from food insecurity, representing more than 30% of all affected people in the state. In some counties, the percentage of students who qualify for free school lunches ranges from as much as 80-90%. These students depend on school lunch, and offering plant-based meals can help ensure that they get the fruits and vegetables they need for a healthy diet. Numerous studies have also shown that plant-based eating supports:
Better school performance.
Plant-based diets are associated with better performance in the classroom.
Lower risk of chronic illness. Eating plant-based leads to lower blood cholesterol levels, blood sugars, blood pressure and helps maintain a body weight — all important risk factors for illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Rich in nutrients and flavor. Plant-based recipes provide plenty of protein, whole grains, fiber, vitamins and nutrients — not to mention delicious flavor.
For Livable Communities.
North Carolina is a hotbed of inequity. The state has the largest number of CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations, or factory farms) in the country, and Durham County has more hogs per capita than people. The conditions are causing an ongoing public health and environmental crisis, mostly in communities of color and those living in poverty. People living near these operations often suffer from chronic illness and are subjected to substandard living, as the noxious stench from the “lagoons” of excrement are inescapable.
For the Planet.
Natural disasters like Hurricane Florence also cause environmental hazards near factory farms. In the wake of these storms, flood waters rise and the feces-filled lagoons spill hundreds of thousands of gallons of sewage into nearby water sources, exposing people and wildlife to dangerous bacteria. The fertilizers and bacteria are also a major source of “dead zones” in the ocean, strangling the oxygen from the water, rendering it unlivable for most ocean life.
Stay in the Loop
Are you a North Carolina resident? Add your name to the list below to get in touch with our Field Organizer and for monthly updates!
You can help change food systems. To learn more, download our toolkits for resources and guidance on how to advocate for change at K-12 schools and support your school’s food service professionals.
School Lunch Toolkit for Change
Our School Lunch Toolkit offers template letters to your local Food Service Directors and School District Board, research and other materials to support you to advocate for better, plant-based food and non-dairy milk options. Whether you’re a community member, parent or student, OMD is here to guide you every step of the way.
Plant-Based Food Service Guide for North Carolina K-12 Schools
It can be a challenge for food service professionals to keep pace without support and resources. That’s why OMD made this free guide for local food service professionals, with frequently asked questions, a marketing toolkit and over a week’s worth of locally-inspired National School Lunch Program-eligible lunch recipes. Get yours today!
Join Our Facebook Group!
OMD holds space for people like you to come together, share stories and support each other in your changemaking and plant-based journeys both on and offline. To learn more and connect, join our private Facebook Group — OMD Green Team: North Carolina!
OMD North Carolina Plant-Based Eaters Guide
Are you plant-curious or looking to make a difference in your health? Download OMD’s North Carolina Plant-Based Eaters Guide for an extensive directory of where to go to get the best meat and dairy-free grub across the state!