SanDiego350

This Earth Day April 22 marks the three-year anniversary of the Gregory J. Reiter Memorial Fund — and the three-year anniversary of the Fund’s partnership with Animal Place’s Food for Thought program, which helps nonprofit organizations adopt vegan menu policies for events.

Many years ago, Animal Place inspired Greg and me to become vegetarian, and ultimately vegan. Greg had long cared deeply about environmental protection. So in April 2016, I jumped at this partnership opportunity to expand Food for Thought from an initial focus on animal shelters, to work with environmental and wildlife conservation organizations as well.

That first year, we created Why Vegan for the Planet? and Why Vegan for Wildlife? online resources as well as a print brochure, outlining the many ways that plant-based diets can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, conserve water, prevent wildlife habitat loss, and more.

In 2017, we presented our first Policy Grants to environmental and wildlife organizations that passed formal vegan or vegetarian menu policies. In 2018, the success of Food for Thought attracted additional donor dollars — allowing us to offer a popular new $1,000 Event Grant for organizations piloting a vegan event. And at the beginning of 2019, we increased our Policy Grant to $1,000 per organization for vegan menu policies!

To date, Food for Thought has worked with over 40 environmental and wildlife organizations to promote Earth-friendly event menu policies — and the program has issued Policy Grants and Event Grants to fourteen of these organizations.

The most recent Food for Thought environmental grant recipient is SanDiego350 (San Diego, CA) — and this one holds special personal significance for me, because Greg was born and raised in that city.

SanDiego350’s new organizational policy states: “All SanDiego350 events will feature all-vegetarian food items, with a concerted effort made to serve all-vegan food items. This policy will be in effect for all SanDiego350-hosted events, including but not limited to: fundraisers, potlucks, meetings, trainings, and parties. SanDiego350 funds will only be used to purchase all-vegan items. While not all plant-based foods have a lower greenhouse gas impact than all animal-based products, the science in this area shows that favoring plant-based foods will, on average, substantially reduce a person’s contribution to climate change. SanDiego350 seeks to share information and encourage individuals to come to their own conclusions about what choices are best for them, but as an organization we want our purchasing power to support solutions to climate change wherever possible.”

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Since 2017, Food for Thought has also presented grants to each of the following environmental and wildlife organizations for piloting a vegan event and/or adopting a veg menu policy:

Animal Help Now (Boulder, CO). Policy: Animal Help Now respects and promotes respect for all animals. As such, the organization employs a vegan approach to its messaging and purchasing, including food purchased for meetings and events, and in its receipt of donated goods and services.

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Citizen Coalition for Wildlife and Environment (Grand Island, NY). Policy excerpt: We commit to making food choices that reflect our organizational values and mission. All Citizen Coalition events, functions, or gatherings where food is purchased by CCWE will have an exclusively plant-based menu.

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Climate First! (Takoma Park, MD). Policy: Climate First! believes that livestock production is one of the greatest threats to a stable climate. Thus, from this day forward, it will be Climate First!’s policy to serve vegetarian-only food at events where the organization is providing food.

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Climate Tracker (International). Policy: All of Climate Tracker’s events which serve, provide or reimburse food items, are obliged to be 100% vegetarian, and should aim at being entirely plant-based.

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Colorado Native Bird Care and Conservation (Lyons, CO). Policy: All events for Colorado Native Bird will be at least vegetarian and vegan as the goal.

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Fauna Foundation (Carignan, Québec). Policy excerpt: To provide consistency with our mission, when Fauna events include food, we offer only vegetarian and vegan options.

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Friends of Washoe (Ellensburg, WA). Policy: Consistent with its mission to promote the welfare of chimpanzees and other beings, Friends of Washoe has a policy of serving only vegan food at any events.

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Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (Phoenix, AZ). Policy: Food and beverages served at Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries organized events are vegan wherever possible. For any events in a subset of developing countries where exclusive vegan options are impractical, food and beverages at GFAS sponsored events will be vegetarian.

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North American Primate Sanctuary Alliance (San Francisco, CA). Policy: Consistent with its mission and dedication to primate welfare, NAPSA recognizes the value of all animals. All meals served at NAPSA-sponsored meetings, retreats and workshops will be vegetarian, with vegan options always made available.

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Second Chance Wildlife Center (Gaithersburg, MD). Policy: In keeping with our mission and acknowledging the importance of our environment and animal welfare, all future SCWC events to which the public is invited will have only vegan fare served.

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Second Chance Wildlife Rehabilitation (Pueblo, CO). Policy: The board of directors of Second Chance Wildlife Rehabilitation agree to adopt a meat-free menu policy for future events. 

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Wildcare (San Rafael, CA). Policy: WildCare donor funds will not be used to purchase meat, poultry or fish that is served at WildCare events. 

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Wildlife Rescue League (Falls Church, VA). Policy: In acknowledgment of the importance of our environment and animal welfare, all events sponsored, hosted, or funded by the Wildlife Rescue League will serve only vegetarian or vegan fare.

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Lots more info at the Food for Thought website !

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