Teen FAQs

Working for Vegetarian Food in Your High School Cafeteria

By Kali Gibbs, Missouri

This essay was excerpted from a Vegetarian Resource Group scholarship application http://www.vrg.org/student/scholar.htm submitted by Kali. Thanks for her great work and for inspiring her fellow students.

I hit upon inspiration while looking at vegetarian school menu petitions on the PETA2 website. I began composing a letter to the food-service director of my school, telling how important to me and many others vegetarian and vegan menu options would be. I also began a petition, and over the course of less than one week it accumulated 3 pages of signatures and e-mail addresses. I was so surprised it was so simple. I then took the letter, petition papers, sample menus, a list of food suppliers, and a list of reviews from other schools that had gone through the change, and presented it to the head of the food services.

I asked her about the menu and if it was possible to have meatless options. As simple as that, she respected my request and began serving vegetarian burger patties within a month. She then told me that she was going to add more vegan and vegetarian options to the menu for the student and teachers who wanted them. My original plan was that once a week students would have the option of a vegetarian or vegan meal, but the food service director has made the options available to all teachers and students every day of the week. Originally it was only the burger pattie that was available every day, but that was soon to change.

Weeks later I was in the office working, and the principal stopped me to talk to him; he asked me if I wanted a voice. When I asked him what he meant he told me he would appreciate my being on the school wellness committee. I learned that I was the only student on the committee, and I was a little intimidated. However, I understood my new responsibility and showed up to present my opinions to the people I knew would listen. My request was answered, and one week later another meeting was held in the cafeteria to sample the new vegan lunch options. Only six students showed up, but all six gave great reviews even though not all were vegetarian and none were vegan except me. Several students, however, showed up after school to sample the options and few were displeased. Now a variety of vegan options are available for lunch and soy milk and fresh fruit are often served with cereal for breakfast. All then any student needs to do is sign up for the vegan meal in the mornings before lunch period.