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USDA Meat-Free Mondays

USDA Meat-Free Mondays

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Published by Jeff Bair
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is wiping egg off its face after encouraging employees in an internal newsletter to take a stand for the environment by not putting meat in their mouths on Mondays.

It was viewed by one beef producers' organization, congressional leaders and Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples as an outrageous statement from a department whose mission is to promote agricultural production.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is wiping egg off its face after encouraging employees in an internal newsletter to take a stand for the environment by not putting meat in their mouths on Mondays.

It was viewed by one beef producers' organization, congressional leaders and Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples as an outrageous statement from a department whose mission is to promote agricultural production.

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categoriesTypes, Research, Law
Published by: Jeff Bair on Jul 27, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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07/27/2012

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Greening HeadquartersUpdate
JULY 23, 2012
GreeningUpdates:
Office of Operations-----------------
Contents:
-
 
WasteMinimization& RecyclingUpdates
-
 
EnergyUpdates
-
 
Food ServiceUpdates
-
 
GreenBuildings
-
 
USDAPeople'sGardenPavilion at theSmithsonianFolklifeFestival 
 
Waste Minimization& Recycling updates
:
One requirement of Executive Order (E.O.) 13514 is thatevery federal agency achieves 50% waste diversion by FY15.USDA is well on its way toward attaining that goal. In FY11USDA had a waste diversion rate of 45% for the sampling of some 20 USDA buildings surveyed nationwide. However,some individual buildings have already exceeded the 50%diversion rate goal; for instance, the USDA HeadquartersComplex went from a 58% diversion rate in FY2010 to a 60%rate in FY11, using FY08 as a baseline. The USDA StrategicSustainability Performance Plan projects that the Departmentwill meet the 50% goal by FY2013 and exceed it in FY2014.
Energy Updates:
We are sprucing up the Ag Promenade! Part of that effortincludes new energy efficient lights. Not only will the newlighting enhance the Promenade, but it also saves energy,labor, and money. The new lights use light emitting diode(LED) technologies. Not only do these lights reduce ourenergy use, they also last much longer than fluorescentlights. With tens of thousands of fluorescent lamps in theHeadquarters Complex, changing out burnt out fluorescentlamps is a significant labor cost.
 
 
One type of LED light bulb
Barber Shop’s new lighting.
The new lights are bright andefficient, so the numbers of light fixtures were reduced
.
Overall energy use was reduced in the HeadquartersComplex. In part, the reduction was due to the unusuallywarm winter. Now, as the unusually warm weathercontinues, our cooling costs are going up compared to lastyear. A simple way you can help us reduce energy costsduring the summer while improving the comfort in your officeis to properly set your window blinds
 
during the summer.Angle the slates up to direct sunlight to the ceiling; angleslates down to direct sunlight to your work surface.
 
Food Service Updates:
The USDA Headquarters Food Operations are a high profileopportunity t
o demonstrate USDA’s commitment to USDA
mission and initiatives. In addition to the many USDAemployees who come to our cafeterias, thousands of touristsand visitors also come to our cafeterias each month.Currently, a Selection Panel is reviewing food servicecontractor submissions. Once the review is completed, thepanel will make a recommendation to the Source SelectionAuthority that will make the final decision. The new contract,which should be awarded later this year, calls for ourcafeterias to become models for healthy eating and
 “sustainable” operations. The new Food Service Contract
encouraged the use of food and beverage items that are freshand locally grown or otherwise made or procured in the
 
 
Look for the newBioPreferredlabel. For moreinformation, goto thebiopreferredwebsite.
closest possible proximity to Washington D.C., and thepreparation of meals that contribute to a balanced diet andcontain the fewest possible additives. By sourcing locally andsustainably grown food, our program will help supportsustainable food systems as a way of contributing to thevitality, environmental sustainability, and quality of life in the
region. In addition to the food and beverages, the “back of the house” operations will also support USDA missions
,including waste reduction programs (conservation of naturalresources) and the use of environmentally preferableproducts including products that are certified BioPreferred(http://www.biopreferred.gov). So soon, you should be seeing some interesting changes in our cafeterias!One simple way to reduce your environmental impact whiledining at our cafeterias is to participate in the
 “MeatlessMonday” initiative 
http://www.meatlessmonday.com/.Thisinternational effort, as the name implies, encourages peoplenot to eat meat on Mondays. Meatless Monday is an initiativeof The Monday Campaign Inc. in association with the JohnHopkins School of Public Health.How will going meatless one day of the week help theenvironment? The production of meat, especially beef (anddairy as well), has a large environmental impact. According tothe U.N., animal agriculture is a major source of greenhousegases and climate change. It also wastes resources. It takes7,000 kg of grain to make 1,000 kg of beef. In addition, beef production requires a lot of water, fertilizer, fossil fuels, andpesticides. In addition there are many health concernsrelated to the excessive consumption of meat. While avegetarian diet could have a beneficial impact on
a person’s
 health and the environment, many people are not ready tomake that commitment. Because Meatless Monday involvesonly one day a week, it is a small change that could producebig results.Did you notice that our cafeterias have tasty meatlessoptions? So you can really help yourself and the environmentwhile having a good vegetarian meal!Did you know that the cafeterias use local honey? It is wild-flower honey from Shipman, VA. Some people believe thatlocal honey can help reduce your allergies. Because honeycontains a variety of the same pollen spores that give allergysufferers so much trouble when flowers and grasses are inbloom, people speculate that, eaten regularly, the honeygradually vaccinates the body against allergens.

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