The role of community-based efforts in promoting sustainable diets

Lessons from a grassroots meat-reduction campaign

Keywords: Behavior Change, Capacity Building, Community Engagement, Community-Based Intervention, Climate Mitigation, Dietary Change, Meatless Monday, Health Promotion, Meat Reduction, Sustainable Diets

Abstract

Decreasing the consumption of meat and dairy has been identified as an effective strategy for protect­ing the health of humans and the planet. More specifically, transitioning to diets that are lower in animal-source foods and higher in fruits, vegeta­bles, legumes, and whole grains offers a promising opportunity to better align consumer behaviors with contemporary nutritional and ecological goals. However, given the limited understanding of how these changes in dietary behaviors can be best promoted, there is a need to explore the merits of community-based approaches to meat reduction and their capacity to advance more sustainable practices of eating at the individual, household, and community levels. To address this gap in the litera­ture, we surveyed more than 100 American house­holds participating in a communitywide, 12-week-long Meatless Monday challenge and tracked the changes in their knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and food choices over a nine-month period. The case study provided herein highlights a number of key findings from our evaluation. Most notably, our results demonstrate the value of community-based efforts in initiating and maintaining dietary behav­ior change and provide preliminary insights into the unique roles of multilevel interventions and diverse stakeholder engagement in promoting healthier, more sustainable diets.

Metrics

Metrics Loading ...

Author Biographies

Kenjin Bryan Chang, The Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

The Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Futureand Department of Health, Behavior and Society, Johns Hopkins University

Zoé Mistrale Hendrickson, The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Department of Health, Behavior and Society, and The Johns Hopkins Center for Communi­cation Programs

Zhe Xu, The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Department of Epidemiology. Dr Xu is now at Cardiovascular Epidemiology Unit, Depart­ment of Public Health and Primary Care, University of Cambridge; Strangeways Research Lab, Cambridge, UK.

Madison Friel, The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Department of International Health

Published
2021-03-05
How to Cite
Ramsing, R., Chang, K., Hendrickson, Z., Xu, Z., Friel, M., & Calves, E. (2021). The role of community-based efforts in promoting sustainable diets: Lessons from a grassroots meat-reduction campaign. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 10(2), 373–397. https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2021.102.026