New York City Elementary School Cafeteria Goes Completely Vegetarian

There will be no more mystery meat for one Queens, NY school. Flushing’s PS 244, has gone meatless. The school will now serve black beans, red roasted potatoes, falafel and brown rice for lunch.

“I am proud of the students and staff for trailblazing this extraordinary path,” said New York City schools Chancellor Dennis M. Walcott said as he recognized PS 244 for being the first public school in the city to serve all-vegetarian food.

The school administrators noticed that students brought their own vegetarian lunches to school and started serving vegetarian meals three times a week in 2012. Meat was completely removed from its menu in January.

New York City Elementary School Cafeteria Goes Completely Vegetarian

Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott and student Arianna Francisco have a vegetarian meal together on Tuesday at PS 244.

Since the menu change, many students have asked their mothers to make kidney beans or buy brown rice, said Robert Groff, who co-founded the school and has served as principal for the last two years.

“One of the biggest challenges was getting the right personnel in place,” Groff said. “Our head cook is a vegetarian herself and is also a parent. She has a second grader in the school.”

Preparing vegetarian food is also more time-consuming than simply baking a hamburger.

But Groff said the new menu is part of the school’s effort to encourage healthy lifestyles. “It is about educating their mind, body and character all together.”

“It’s been a really great response from the kids, but they also understand it’s about what is the healthiest option for them,”  Groff told ABCNews.com. “Because we teach them throughout our curriculum to make healthy choices, they understand what is happening and believe in what we’re doing too.”


What do you think of the idea? Should the school also offer meat options?

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