Yolo Interfaith Alliance for climate Justice has introduced Interfaith Meatless Monday to most of its 11 member congregations. Joining Meatless Monday is One Simple Thing we can do to address climate change. For the health of the planet, for our own health, to save water, to save money, and to help alleviate world hunger, members of various faith communities in Davis are pausing to place a dried bean in a jar for each meatless day that week. It’s a small act that multiplied by many people and many meatless days has a big impact.

Participating faith communities so far include:  Unitarian Universalist Church of Davis, United Methodist Church of Davis, Davis Community Church, University Covenant Church, Friends, Unity Center, St. James Catholic Church, Bet Haverim Congregation, and CA House.  St. James is participating in Interfaith Meatless Monday by practicing Meatless Friday which Pope Francis has reinstated for environmental reasons!

Meatless Monday in our Region

Meatless Monday is already well-established in our region. Many UC campuses have long since adopted the program, including UC Davis which has encouraged student pledges and highlighted vegetarian and vegan options on Mondays since 2007. All the State University System promotes meatless Mondays as well. Meanwhile, nearby school districts of Winters and Vacaville already have programs in place and our own Davis Unified School District is looking for how to implement the program. Nearby participating cities include San Francisco, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Jose, and Long Beach. Perhaps Davis will be next.

Faith communities share information about Meatless Monday, including yummy recipes, at their display!
Faith communities share information about Meatless Monday, including yummy recipes, at their display!

Cooking Demonstrations

To help folks make the transition to a more plant-based diet, Interfaith Meatless Monday has offered two cooking demonstrations so far, with more on the horizon. The first, “Mediterranean Cuisine with Wine Pairing” featured a four-course meal including Sicilian Caponata with Crusty Bread, Fresh Tuscan Kale Salad, Pommes Boulangère with Seville Style Spinach and Chickpea Stew, and Amaretto Crisp Baked Apples. The 23 guests enjoyed an elegant feast indeed.

The second cooking demonstration provided 20 guests with recipes and servings of three hearty vegan main dishes: Shepherd’s pie, transformed Classic macaroni and cheese, and Cassoulet (French white bean stew).

Watch this website for notice of more Cooking classes by Chef Debra Chase of An Unplugged Kitchen.  It’s worth the time to attend the free workshops just for her cooking tips!

Film nights 

Interfaith friends have another opportunity meet together, sometimes with a vegetarian potluck first, as they view films on food. The Unitarian Universalist showed Nourish: Food and Community and members from five faith communities attended. In the new year, watch for showings of Ingredients, dirt: The Movie, A Place at the Table, Fed Up: It’s Time to get Real about Food, and Food, Inc. at various faith locations. The conversations should be dynamic as we navigate our way through how to make our eating match our values.  The film showing are free.

Guest Speaker on The Plant-Based Journey April 10

On Sunday, April 10, Interfaith Meatless Monday has invited Lani Muelrath to share highlights from her just-published book, The Plant-Based Journey. She’ll describe what motivated her to change her diet, how she made the transition, the benefits she’s discovered, and share specifics. The public is invited to Davis Community Church to hear the presentation and share in the following discussion and sample the snacks from her recipes.

One Simple Thing to lighten our Carbon  Footprint

Learning to live with a lighter carbon footprint is all a journey, and talking with others exploring the changes makes it easier and more fun. Interfaith Meatless Monday is our attempt to offer One Simple Thing we can do that is not only healthy and significant to the environment, but also rewarding and fun!

We hope to bring Meatless Monday to all of Davis soon.

By Lynne Nittler, leader of Interfaith Meatless Monday

Send questions to Interfaith@cooldavis.org