Meatless Monday and Food Security in the Developing World – What’s the Connection?

Meatless Monday. Sounds like lent, but on a different day of the week, right? Exactly.

A project of The Monday Campaigns, and in association with the Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health, Meatless Monday was launched to help Americans reduce their meat consumption by 15 percent in order to improve their personal health and the health of the planet—a planet that, no doubt, could use a lot of TLC. It can be hard for carnivores to understand that eating meat does take a toll on our planet and on developing world economies, but it’s true.

According to a new study released at the Conference on Leveraging Agriculture for Improving Nutrition & Health in New Delhi, if people in wealthy nations and in more developed emerging economies like China and Brazil, were to start eating less meat now, they could reduce the cost of staple grains like maize, which is often used as livestock feed, in just 15 years. Eating less meat would, in turn, make grains more affordable for the most marginalized people in the developing world. It would enable a more sustainable cycle of food production so that people could get the healthy food they need to survive.

In Sub-Saharan countries, where maize is a staple, lower meat consumption could, by 2030, reduce the number of malnourished children under five by a million. A million! That’s a lot of children.

So, are you ready to go meatless on Mondays? It’s a pretty easy way to make a difference. I’m in.