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Belgian City Is First to Go Meatless

Belgium's made its mark on the culinary world with waffles and chocolate. But could Ghent, Belgium, become the world's first city known for its vegetarianism? Starting today, the city has instituted a weekly "veggie day" in which government officials opt for meatless meals. When school begins again in September, schoolchildren will also have a weekly meat-free day.

Deputy mayor of Ghent Tom Balthazar explained that the reasons for going vegetarian are manifold: in addition to tackling obesity, raising awareness for vegetarianism reduces the city's environmental footprint and helps fight hunger. "Eighteen percent of the greenhouse gas emissions are caused by the meat industry . . . and the fight against hunger will go better and smoother if we eat less meat. For producing one kilogram of meat, you need seven to 10 kilograms of grains," he said.Citizens of Ghent still have the option to eat meat on "veggie day." However, as Balthazar (who is a self-described flexitarian) explains, the main menu on these days at city schools and many restaurants will be meatless, and the alternative menu will contain meat.

Although I consider myself a big meat eater, it's a relevant time to consider the social, health, and environmental impacts of consuming less meat. Would you support a vegetarian movement in your town?


Join The Conversation
danakscully64 danakscully64 8 years
I like it :)
fashion_doll24 fashion_doll24 8 years
What I like most about this idea is what kmckay also mentions: the fact that, by promoting a vegetarian meal once a week in schools, children become aware of healthy and delicious alternatives for meat. Especially in a country where a lot of people would name 'a good steak and fries' as their favorite dish.
kmckay kmckay 8 years
as a 15 yr. vegan, i may be a bit biased... but i think it's great when anyone recognizes the benefits of a veggie lifestyle. true it's only 1 day but it exposes people to tasty alternatives and lets people know that that it's not 'impossible' to not eat meat.
Penny-C Penny-C 8 years
Vegetarians still eat cheese and drink milk so where does that come from?!!!!
Modus-Vivendi Modus-Vivendi 8 years
That's kinda neat, as long as it's not mandatory.
CoconutPie CoconutPie 8 years
I think this is a great idea! :medal:
kia kia 8 years
Awesome! I am surprised the progressive town I live in doesn't already promote this. There are so many vegetarian options for dining out so it wouldn't be hard. Anyone here doing the Meatless in May challenge promoted by Chelsea Green?
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
It's just one day a week, so I don't really think there's anything to complain about. Plus, it could get people thinking and introduce them to some tasty alternatives.
lemuse20 lemuse20 8 years
Well who needs meat when you've got chocolate and waffles! But seriously, they could just go with lean meats instead of vegetarianism.
mamasitamalita mamasitamalita 8 years
fair about India, but that's already a part of their culture. for cultures that are not inherently in tune with these realities, I think designating special days/weeks and raising awareness is fantastic.
vegesquire vegesquire 8 years
This is absolutely amazing! Someone gets that little steps can make a big difference! Go Belgium :)
starofsorrow starofsorrow 8 years
I'm all for it! I think many places could benefit from having a "meatless" day. I have a few friends that are vegetarians and some that even eat vegan, and I admire their lifestyle choice. As for me, I would definitely say I'm a flexitarian as well. I'm definitely adopting that term!
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
that's AWESOME! i wish that we had that here. i think that it's really taking a stand that there are ways to be mindful of animal rights and to be healthy without having to be a meat eater. i love that - and i hope that it spreads.
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
Good for them!
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