The first No Meat March took place in March of 2011. It was created to invite those curious about exploring a plant-based diet to sign a pledge for 31-days and forgo meat during the month of March. In its first year, No Meat March touted about 500 participates who were sent daily emails with recipes, information and guidance. In 2013, just two years later, No Meat March went international with little to no advertising budget. Now people from all over the world sign up for the challenge reaching thousands of homes.
This year, we had participants from all over the U.S. and the world, including No Meat Marchers from Europe, Ontario, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia!
We had some great events here in Jacksonville, FL, the birthplace of No Meat March including a veggie sushi making class and brunch with House of Leaf & Bean, a small bites tasting with Plantology, a grocery shopping on a plant-based diet workshop with Kailo Nutrition and a National Reuben Sandwich Day meet up Native Sun Natural Foods Market to eat their deli's Tofu Reuben sandwiches.
Native Sun was a huge supporter of No Meat March this year. In addition to the National Reuben Sandwich Day event on March 14, they ran a promotion for the entire month of March. For every Tofu Reuben, Tofu Club, Teriyaki Sandwich or Beyond Meat Burger purchased from their deli during March, Native Sun donated 10 percent of the proceeds to Yoga 4 Change, a nonprofit organization that achieves meaningful change for veterans, incarcerated individuals, at-hope youth, and those recovering from substance abuse. With resounding community support, Native Sun was able to donate more than $900 to Yoga 4 Change.
No Meat March was also heavily featured in the news this year. Even a local newscaster jumped on the bandwagon and signed the pledge for the month, detailing her journey in a series of segments as she progressed. Alex Livingston had The Girls Gone Green Founder and Executive Director Julie Watkins on First Coast Living March 21 to discuss common myths about vegan and vegetarianism. You can check out that segment here.
Watkins was also featured on News 4 Jax March 5 where she demonstrated how to make barbecue tempeh. Watkins, who is also the owner of the all-vegan Present Moment Cafe in St. Augustine, FL, also shared how to make Alfredo Zoodles with Cherry Tomato Tapenade in the March/April issue of Edible Northeast Florida. The special "Eating Plants" edition of the magazine also featured an article on faux meats, how to stock the kitchen on a plant-based diet and vegan recipes from other local establishments.
The Girls Gone Green Volunteer Coordinator Alicia Smith was featured on I Want a Buzz talking about the campaign.
We thank everyone who participated and supported this year's No Meat March and look forward to next year! In the meantime, feel free to challenge yourself any month of the year. The 2019 recipes are still posted on the No Meat March website. And check out this article from The Guardian on why eating less meat is the best thing you can do for the planet in 2019 and this climate change food calculator from BBC News that determines your diet's carbon footprint.