15-year-old high school student Ava Cuevas of Riverside County is passionate about student access to plant-based foods. As a member of the Youth Leadership Council of Farm Sanctuary, America’s first farm animal sanctuary and advocacy organization, she is advocating for federal funding to be approved for making such meals available to students nationwide. In her opinion piece for L.A. Weekly, she writes on her appreciation of the state of California for being the first state to fund plant-based meals, and presents her argument on why similar allowances should be supported on a federal level.
“For the first time, legislation for Congress’ Child Nutrition Reauthorization (CNR) process includes language for creating a voluntary plant-based school meal pilot program and expanding student access to plant-based beverages,” writes Cuevas. “While this may seem like a small step, it’s actually a critical opportunity for Congress to improve the health and well-being not only of students in K-12 schools, but workers, communities, animals, and the planet. Including this language in the CNR is monumental for everyone – even those who eat meat – because plant-based meals cause significantly less harm in ways that benefit our communities.”