Young people at Hammersmith Academy came together as part of a Good Life Group to work towards reducing meat consumption in their school. Although there was always a vegetarian lunch option available in the canteen, this was rarely chosen by students, resulting in excessive meat consumption across the school week. The students wanted to change this, by shifting the lunch options on a Monday to be mostly meat-free and educating fellow students on this issue.
Students recognised that they would need some help in making this change. The first step of implementing this action was to meet with their headteacher and try to persuade him that this plan should go ahead. This was done in a ‘Dragon’s Den’ Style Session where the students pitched their idea to try to gain support from the school leadership team.
“Students leading on the charter projects are feeling heard and represented. They are empowered. They are developing a better understanding of how to instigate change through democratic practices. This has been a significant learning point for these students.“
Head of Geography, Hammersmith Academy
Ahead of their pitch, the students thoroughly researched appealing meat-free options and the benefits both for the school and for students consuming the products. They discovered that meat free options can taste even better than meat-filled options and they harm the environment a lot less.
The students did an excellent job campaigning, and it was decided that Hammersmith Academy would go ahead with implementing a meat-less Mondays initiative at their school. The Good Life Group have now kicked off consultations with the school chef, the food suppliers and the headteacher, where the students have led on getting everyone on board and working towards the same goal.
The group are planning to learn more from local community kitchen Nourish Hub about the benefits of meat-free options in the new academic year.
“I have learnt that not everything will be perfect, and you need to step out of your comfort zone to progress after a roadblock in your plans.”
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