For more than 15 years, the Meatless Monday campaign has promoted a simple message for better health and a healthier planet: one day a week, cut out meat.
Over the years, the concept of reducing meat consumption every Monday has spread to more than 40 countries in more than 22 languages. Now, Meatless Monday – in partnership with the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs and the Center for a Livable Future (CLF) – is looking to strategically support those who back the concept with resources, materials and, perhaps most importantly, a community of peers.
Together, these organizations have planted the seeds of an online meat-reduction community, creating a web platform designed to bring together like-minded organizations around the globe to discuss challenges and opportunities.
“We want every organization that joins this online community to have ownership of this space and to contribute to it so we can make it even easier for people everywhere to reduce meat consumption,” says Amber Summers, PhD, who leads the efforts for CCP. “Knowing there are other people out there doing the same work – and learning how they overcome challenges and find opportunities – means a lot.”
The idea of Meatless Monday was first introduced during World War I as a way to reduce consumption to help the war effort. It was revived in 2003 as a non-profit public health initiative, led by Sid Lerner, a former advertising executive and now a public health advocate, in association with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The originators of this concept chose Monday as a weekly opportunity to change consumers’ food choices because research suggests that people are more open to trying healthy behaviors at the start of the week.
Since its start, Meatless Monday has grown into a global movement, driven forward by the participation of like-minded organizations, NGOs, hospitals, schools, worksites, restaurants and individuals from around the globe. It seeks to expand this practice to every nation around the world.
The Meatless Monday Global online community is a space for collaboration, where people can find the latest research, news and events of interest to those involved in Meatless Monday. Online community members share highlights from their work on the live feed and participate in topic-specific discussion forums, such as climate change. There are also implementation kits translated into different languages to enable more people to join the movement.
Meatless Monday Global also welcomes people to join different online community subgroups allowing people with similar interests to work together, such as one looking at the climate change impact, one for nutritionists and dieticians, one for chefs. Groups can be organized by country or region as well.
The platform can help people access the tools and engage in discussions to help answer common questions or needs such as how to increase engagement in Meatless Monday in a local community, incorporate more meatless meals, persuade a local school or restaurant to participate in Meatless Monday or choose protein alternatives to meat.
In addition to developing the online community, Meatless Monday Global is also focused on strategic planning, collaborating on outreach activities to bring more like-minded organizations into the fold in an intentional way and developing monitoring, learning and research plans.
“Meatless Monday is a simple concept that encourages healthy sustainable diets and provides evidence-based information and resources to help support and accelerate this dietary shift,” Summers says. “It’s also great to collaborate, share and be inspired to move the work forward. That’s what this community is for.”
To join the community, visit https://meatless-monday.hivebrite.com/. Click the “Become a Member” link in the upper right corner. You’ll fill out a short membership form and receive a confirmation within 24 hours. Once you’re confirmed, you can share and access information and resources, and pursue engagement opportunities to support the reduction of meat consumption around the world.