Meatless Mondays Canceled

After only one week, the short-lived “Make-A-Difference Mondays” or “Meatless Mondays”, which provided only vegetarian meals on Monday, has come and gone in a flurry of student reactions.

This past Tuesday, Michael Giampa, Food Service Director at Paresky Commons, cancelled “Meatless Mondays” and reformatted Common’s weekly menu to accommodate more vegetarian options.

“Instead [of Make-a-Difference Mondays] we are going to look at our total menu cycle and make some daily changes so there is not such a shock to the community on Mondays,” he said.

The decision came after Giampa noticed students eating chicken from the salad bar this past Monday, and he felt it signaled the need for a change to the no meat schedule.

“We are going to serve 30% more vegetarian entrees that are better for the planet and better for our bodies. Secondly, with that money saved, we can buy higher quality beef, chicken and pork products. It’s pretty much a win-win,” said Giampa.

Since beef is one of the most expensive proteins for farmers to raise, by cutting down on beef purchases by 30%, Commons can now fund an original sustainability initiative set up by Giampa.

“The original budget for total replacement of meat was very expensive, so the board decided to give me 70% of the money with the condition that I had to cut beef purchases by 30%. By doing this we can now buy all-natural sustainability raised beef, poultry and pork that is better for you and better for the earth,” he continued.

Giampa developed the idea of bringing Make-a-Difference Mondays to Phillips Academy after going to several sustainability summits.

Giampa said he heard of the idea of Make-a-Difference Mondays, where the school didn’t serve meat on Mondays in their dining hall, while attending a sustainability conference at Boston University.

Along with opening up Giampa’s sustainability initiative, cutting down on beef also provides nutritional advantages as well.

“The carbon-footprint of beef is unbelievable. It roughly takes 500 gallons of water to produce four ounces of beef. Where as the same amount of wheat uses 25 gallons to produce,” said Giampa.

Along with altering Make-a-Difference Mondays, Commons plans to introduce new food related initiatives.

According to Giampa, Aramark plans to provide Perfectos bagels during breakfast. They will also continue to use Stony Field Yogurt, supply 100% Maple Syrup and roast their own deli meats.

Commons is also pursuing the overall sustainability effort by purchasing food through a local vendor. Aramark has begun to work with a local farm, NorthStar Farms in Westport, MA. The company never worked with a local vendor before.

“To be able to purchase from Steve Hancock, Owner of NorthStar Farm, is a big deal because he is growing vegetables for us specifically and the quality is great,” said Giampa.