Plant-based challenge turns Austin eateries green for the month of January
If your New Year’s resolution is to fill your diet with more plant-based foods, you’re in luck: A local nonprofit is leading an effort with Austin restaurants to offer plant-based menus and raise awareness about climate change.
Planted Society’s "Plant Based for the Planet" program will run throughout January. The nonprofit has partnered with the City of Austin’s Office of Sustainability, the Better Food Foundation, and more than a dozen local restaurants to feature plant-based specials throughout the month.
Planted Society says the restaurants are still finalizing their dishes. Local food truck Plantain Bar will offer an arepa with sweet plantain, black bean purée, avocado relish, and boricua sauce with local microgreens. Fellow food truck Fez will have two offerings: veggie arayes (grilled pitas) filled with sweet potato and eggplant, and a pita sandwich stuffed with falafel, cabbage slaw, and red pepper spread.
According to Planted Society, many of the participating restaurants will use the “DefaultVeg” strategy, which is essentially the idea that plant-based food should be the “default” when choosing meals. Under this system, diners who opt for meat and dairy products need to add them to the menu item, rather than taking them away.
Participating restaurants include:
- Plantain Bar
- Hillside Farmacy
- Honey Moon Spirit Lounge
- Pueblo Viejo
- L’Oca d’Oro
- The Dosa Shack
- The Soup Peddler
- Reem's Falafel
- Mr. Natural
- The Brewtorium
Austinites who dine at the participating restaurants will have the chance to vote on their preferred dishes and win prizes for casting their vote.
The goal is not only to raise awareness about the impact of food choices on the climate, but to reduce the city’s environmental footprint.
Planted Society has taken the program to eight different cities in the U.S., the most recent being San Antonio in October. According to the program’s impact report, the efforts in the city saved 42,064 pounds in greenhouse gasses throughout the month. The report equates that to the emissions from driving an average-sized car across Texas 6,000 times.
The report says the San Antonio program also saved 26,000 showers’ worth of water and enough land to grow wheat for 250,000 loaves of bread, by reducing the amount of agricultural land needed to produce animal-based foods.
More information and a registration form are available at plantedsociety.org.