From now until April 13, vegan brand Beyond Meat and YouTube star Liza Koshy are hosting the Beyond Lunch Sustainability Challenge, a contest that challenges teachers and their students to submit ideas on how to make their schools’ lunchrooms more sustainable. The contest aims to provide an outlet for educators and students to apply the knowledge they gained—such as the connection between animal agriculture and the climate crisis—from Beyond Meat’s first sustainability course launched with digital education platform EVERFI last fall. 

“I’m excited to partner with Beyond Meat and EVERFI on an initiative that speaks directly to today’s youth and challenges them to incorporate sustainable practices into their daily lives,” Koshy said. “My mother always taught me to leave places better than you found them and since I was a kid, I’ve felt a responsibility to help better the planet through my everyday actions. Little choices that you make day-to-day, such as going plant-based for lunch, a snack, or a whole day can make a huge difference over time. That is why I am proud to work with Beyond Meat and EVERFI to inspire and reward students for thinking more sustainably.”

Beyond Meat’s EVERFI sustainability course

In October 2020, Beyond Meat launched its free online course titled “Sustainability Foundations: Plants, Animals, and Our World” in partnership EVERFI—which has reached 41 million learners globally since it launched in 2008. The science-based course focuses on teaching children about how their everyday choices have an impact on themselves, their communities, and the planet. “At Beyond Meat, we believe that there is a better way to feed our future and that all students should have access to education on important topics that impact their lives, such as the role of nutrition and food in their health and that of their families, the earth’s climate, and broader sustainability,” Beyond Meat Founder and CEO Ethan Brown said. “Through our work with EVERFI, we are inspiring students to come up with designs and plans to reimagine their lunchrooms around health and sustainability outcomes and showing them how their actions can improve their health and the health of the planet.”

Brown partnered with EVERFI Founder and CEO Tom Davidson—a childhood friend of his—to create the interactive course which is designed for fifth to eighth grade students and covers topics such as global resource constraints, the importance of biodiversity, climate change, and how to make sustainable lifestyle and dietary choices. The Beyond Lunch Sustainability Challenge aims to bring the course materials to life by applying sustainability initiatives in lunchrooms. “Today’s youth have the power to change tomorrow’s world for the better by making big and small personal choices,” Davidson said. “It’s important that we come together to empower students with education on plant-based innovations for human and planetary health. We are delighted to work with Beyond Meat, a forward thinking company with a climate-driven mission, on this sustainability course, and the challenge.” 

Challenge winners—which will be announced on or around June 1—will receive $10,000 to makeover their school’s lunch room to follow their sustainability vision. Contest rules and submission guidelines can be found here.