Plant Powered Dining is an initiative by Cornell Dining that aims to educate students about the transformative power of plant-based food and agriculture. This desire to encourage a more sustainable and nutritious diet is inspired by an initiative started in 2003 by the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Surgeon General Healthy People 2010 Report. Both outlined the health benefits of reducing meat consumption by 15% per week. From an environmental perspective, many studies have highlighted the link between increased meat consumption and environmental harm such as rising greenhouse gas levels and freshwater shortages.
Plant Powered Dining is also in line with the objectives and guidelines stated in Menus of Change – a movement started by the Culinary Institute of America that outlines ways in which the nutritional quality of food in college campuses can be improved.
For 4 consecutive Thursdays and Fridays starting April 14th in Bethe House, and April 15th in Rose House, delicious and exciting plant-based dishes will be offered. This includes Quinoa Stuffed Peppers, Sweet and Sour Eggplant, Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Portobello, Zucchini and Feta Fritter and many others. As a “total immersion” type event, there will be no meat offered and will be 100% plant-based. During these dinners, there will also be many infographics and table tents full of facts to further educate students.
Ultimately, Plant Powered Dining is a pilot program that aims to not only encourage reduced meat consumption for the benefit of the environment and personal health but also provides an opportunity for Cornell students to engage in something that might not normally try. With celebrities like Oprah Winfrey and Paul McCartney and other colleges like Binghamton University and Dartmouth College already participating in this move to reduce meat consumption for just one day a week, it is definitely not too late for Cornell Dining to finally be part of this empowering initiative.
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