Meatless Mondays

Written by Plant With Purpose on May 17, 2010 in General

by Stephanie Rudeen

Nutrition is a vital component of Plant With Purpose’s programs in developing countries around the world. In Oaxaca, Mexico, one of the regions where Plant With Purpose works, a vast 76.9% of the population suffers from malnutrition and doctors estimate that as many as 90% of children younger than age five suffer from malnutrition due to the poor Mixteco diet. The devastating effects of malnutrition in children include stunted physical growth, arrested brain development, and inability of the body’s immune system to effectively combat disease.

We at Plant With Purpose are proud to share our school partnerships program in Oaxaca that helps spread valuable nutritional education and practice to children in Oaxaca. Plant With Purpose’s successful family gardens program has been incorporated into the curriculum of many of the local schools in Oaxaca. The family gardens project empowers women to set up family gardens composed of vegetables, medicinal plants, fruit trees, nitrogen-fixing trees, and small animals such as chickens, sheep, and rabbits. These family gardens diversify the family diet and help to reduce malnutrition among children. This successful and empowering program has now been applied to local Oaxaca schools through the creation of demonstration family garden plots.

Plant With Purpose has also teamed up with elementary schools to equip teachers to teach environmental education classes that supplement sustainable projects such as the family garden demonstration plot that the students can then implement at home. Students are taught how to grow a diverse supply of vegetables including onions, radishes, lettuce, chile, cilantro, cabbage, broccoli, green beans, and squash.

Many Oaxacan children have now been able to improve their nutrition and become more prepared for the future. Plant With Purpose hopes that this program will help the children of Oaxaca pass down the legacy of Plant With Purpose to their own children, even after Plant With Purpose is gone.

While the children of Oaxaca are learning the skills to improve their nutrition and their lives, what can you do? Of course, this transformation was only made possible by the continuous help and support of donors who care about community development and environmental restoration. Yet, while we often preach about the importance of nutrition and a healthy diet for individuals and communities in impoverished countries, how often do we actually practice what we preach?

That’s why I’m excited to branch out on my own journey towards a healthier me—a journey that can be easily replicated by any of you! Meatless Monday is an international campaign that encourages people to cut out meat on Mondays to improve their health and the health of the planet. Deciding not to eat meat once a week lessens the risk of chronic preventable illness and has a strong positive impact on the environment. Check out for more information!

I’m not a huge carnivore so I’m sure I will easily be able to overcome this challenge; yet, I view it as one step closer to a healthier me. Just as Plant With Purpose helps to transform lives in the communities where we work, try to take a moment and transform your own!

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