Switch Up Your Lunch campaign is calling workplaces and organisations in Oxfordshire to go veggie for the climate
On Monday 14th June, the annual Switch Up Your Lunch veg pledge campaign is inviting organisations across the county to “eat to beat climate change”. The campaign is supported by Oxfordshire Greentech, Good Food Oxford, Oxfordshire County Council, the Women in Sustainability Network and the Low Carbon Hub.
At lunchtime on 14th June, thousands of people will be joining the Switch Up Your Lunch campaign by eating a vegetarian or vegan lunch. All local workplaces, businesses, organisations and individuals are invited to join and sign up with a pledge on the campaign website.
Food and farming are among the biggest contributors to climate change and with current meat-heavy diets, there is only enough farmland in the county to produce the equivalent of 74% of our food requirements (Winney 2020), a figure that will diminish further with population growth. Taking onboard climate experts’ recommendations on sustainable diets e.g. the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Switch Up Your Lunch campaign helps address the need to reduce meat and dairy consumption for a sustainable future. Eating more plants helps reduce carbon emissions as well as use of land and water for food production. Plant-based diets are also linked to improved heart health and weight loss and can be cheaper.
The Switch Up Your Lunch campaign aims to show that eating more vegetables and less and better meat and dairy is not just healthier and better for the planet but can also be delicious, fun and enjoyable. The annual campaign is running for the third time this year. It reached an estimated 15,000 people in 2019 – including employees, community groups, universities, and local authorities, as well as staff, children and school teachers. Although the second year faced the challenges of the early stages of the pandemic, the social media campaign in June 2020 reached 50,000 and featured online cooking demos as well as many mouthwatering lunch pictures shared on Instagram.
This year’s campaign coincides with an exhibition at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History titled “Meat: The Future” which opened on 28th May and draws attention to the urgent need to shift diets towards eating more plants. While Switch Up Your Lunch is asking for only one vegetarian or vegan lunch, the idea behind the campaign is to give an impulse for putting vegetables centre stage on all our plates more frequently.
Organisations and individuals who sign up to the pledge are encouraged to use the hashtag #SwitchUpYourLunch on social media before and throughout the day on 14th June, sharing photos of their meals.
Pledges can be made at goodfoodoxford.org/switchupyourlunch where participants can also get helpful tips for veggie cooking and eating.
Bart Ashton, Bursar at Lady Margaret Hall: “Switch Up Your Lunch is a great way of getting everyone in our college involved with the important topic of the future of our food. It works for those who are in the college as well as those who are still working, studying or taking exams from home. The college and it’s community care about the wide environmental impact of it’s meals: greenhouse gases, biodiversity reduction, land and water use. Students back this up with their menu choices: the majority of LMH student meals sold are plant based already and we avoid providing meat dishes once every week. Across the university nearly 40% of meals sold to staff and students are now plant based but it’s a conversation that we should keep having. The chance to connect with people across the county on 14th June is a great opportunity to remind our own community why this is so important. The University of Oxford estimates that if all its students and staff had a plant based lunch it could save as much as 45 tonnes of greenhouse gases every day – personal choices matter, so #SwitchUpYourLunch.”
Ness Scott, Climate Change Manager at West Oxfordshire District Council: “I think it can be difficult to link our food choices back to greenhouse-gas emissions and climate impact. But with 26% of all global greenhouse-gas emissions coming from food, it’s not something we should ignore. The nice thing about this campaign is that it encourages us all to stop and think about what we eat. Cutting down on meat and dairy, and swapping them for plant-based meals, is also a great way of getting our five a day – so it’s a campaign that’s good for us too! This is the case with so many small changes we can make to improve the environment, there are always multiple benefits to us as individuals and collectively as communities. I’m looking forward to sharing a vegetarian lunch with my team and colleagues, giving us a chance to share our tastiest recipes.”
Nina Osswald, Co-ordinator at the local food partnership Good Food Oxford: “Our Oxfordshire wide network of sustainable food producers includes veg growers as well as farmers of sustainable, grass-fed meat and organic dairy. If we all commit to eating a lot more veg and choosing better quality meat and dairy, but less frequently, we can make a big difference to our overall impact on climate change. Furthermore, it tastes delicious, can be healthier and cost less.”
Hannah Scott, Communications and Members Manager, Oxfordshire Greentech: “Oxfordshire Greentech is very proud to be a founding partner of the #SwitchUpYourLunch initiative. As an organisation 100% committed to a zero-carbon transition in Oxfordshire, we know that #SwitchUpYourLunch is a crucial piece of the puzzle in shifting people’s behaviours to become more sustainable, especially around the tricky topic of food. Oxfordshire Greentech also adheres to the One Planet Living sustainability framework, developed by sustainability charity Bioregional, where one of the key principles centres on Local and Sustainable Food. Our #SwitchUpYourLunch champions this principle, helping move everyone in Oxfordshire closer to the happier, healthier, greener future we all want.”
Notes to Editors:
Nina Osswald, Hannah Scott and Bart Ashton can give additional quotes.
For further press enquiries and photos contact:
Nina Osswald, Co-ordinator at Good Food Oxford, 07341911456 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Hannah Scott, Communications and Members Manager at Oxfordshire Greentech, 07446 836251 or email email@example.com
About Good Food Oxford
Good Food Oxford is a network of over 140 businesses, charities and community groups working together for a healthier, fairer and more sustainable food system for Oxford and Oxfordshire. Membership is open to any individual or organisation supporting the network’s aims. Oxford’s Good Food Charter is available to sign online at goodfoodoxford.org/charter.
Switch Up Your Lunch is supported by the national Veg Cities Campaign. Good Food Oxford also supports the national Veg Power campaign which encourages children to eat more vegetables.
About Oxfordshire Greentech
Oxfordshire Greentech is the business network for a low-carbon future. With over 100 organisations supporting the growth of the low-carbon sector in Oxfordshire, the network puts on events, networking opportunities, Meet the Buyer sessions, B2B sessions and more to encourage innovation, collaboration and knowledge transfer. Membership is open to any organisation – find out more at www.oxfordshiregreentech.co.uk