On 14th December 2021, the Oxfordshire County Council in England approved a motion presented by the Green Party Councillor Ian Middleton to make sure the food at all future Council’s meetings is “entirely plant-based”.
Mr Middleton also asked to see plant-based menus available for school dinners and help young people make informed decisions on food choices and their impact on the environment, health and animal welfare.
The motion states: “This Council recognises that meat and dairy production is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and global deforestation and that reducing consumption of these foods is a key part of tackling climate change and improving health outcomes.
The Government’s independent Climate Change Committee, advises that meat consumption should be reduced by a fifth, and that public bodies should lead the way by promoting plant-based food options. Leading by example on this, and food waste, should be fundamental components of our commitment to cutting carbon emissions.
Furthermore, in the UK, only 18 per cent of children consume the recommended five portions of fruit and vegetables per day, and most young people’s diets lack fibre. Providing appealing plant-based school meals along with education on healthy, climate-positive food choices are excellent ways to address these problems.”
In a Tweet the day after the Council’s meeting, Mr Middelton say: “Delighted to report that this motion passed yesterday. A positive message that @OxfordshireCC are taking a direct and personal approach to #ClimateActionNow”
England is divided into many counties run by 23 County Councils and 13 County Unitary Authorities. Oxfordshire County Council is the council for the non-metropolitan county of Oxfordshire in the Southeast of England. It is one of the largest employers in Oxfordshire. The council has 63 councillors, with both the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives sharing the highest number (21). It’s encouraging to see how one of the three Green Party councillors managed to get this important motion passed. Hopefully, other politicians in minority parties in other counties will take inspiration and follow suit.