The Los Angeles Unified School District approved plans for a vegan school lunch pilot program on Tuesday. Board President Steve Zimmer spearheaded the initiative after several activists—including vegan teen Lila Copeland and actress Pamela Anderson—demanded that LAUSD consider offering students more nutritious options. “We have had a demand and when we get a demand like this from our community,” Zimmer said, “we institute a pilot to find out [if this] is something that we really could implement district-wide.” Zimmer will work with the board to develop the menu, which will be launched at select Los Angeles area schools this August at no extra cost to the students. Last month, the LAUSD severed ties with McDonald’s Teacher’s Night program in an effort to curb the influence the fast food chain has on students’ dietary choices. As the second largest school district in the country, the LAUSD often serves as a model for others and Zimmer, who is vegetarian, plans to implement the program to be more in-line with current scientific research that links the consumption of animal products with an increased risk of illnesses such as cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.
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