Education partially removes meat from menu after ‘begging’ teacher

Verouden has been a vegetarian for forty years. He waited just as long to send the request that he has now submitted to the management of Fontys Hogeschool Kind en Educatie. He doesn’t know if it was because of his long wait. Maybe it’s because the world has become so much more sustainable in recent years. At least his email paid off.

‘I have waited more than forty years for this e-mail’, as can be read in the message he sent to the management of FHKE before the summer holidays. ‘In 1975 I stopped eating animals. Back then it wasn’t so widespread. Knowledge of agricultural policy and the disastrous consequences for ecology was known, but still in the hands of idealists and not in the reports of scientists.’

His letter continues: “The scientifically substantiated reports from the IPCC (by April 2022) speak a clear language and at the same time offset pessimism: you really can do something yourself. Best working proposal to prevent global warming: reduce meat consumption!’

Lentil burgers
The world is different now than it was fifty years ago, says Verouden. “It has become much easier to be a vegetarian. I once became a chef because we used to have so little choice, so I learned to cook well myself. I made burgers out of lentils and beans. For homemade pate, I used Japanese ingredients. It was all very exotic.”

Today, you no longer have to drive kilometers for a store with the right products. Spending hours searching for a restaurant with vegetarian options is a thing of the past. “And it doesn’t stop at the supermarket shelves. If you want to avoid yogurt, cheese or milk, you have many options. The shelves are filled with food without interference from animals. So why isn’t it possible at Fontys, I thought at the time.”

The world is burning up
The goal of Verouden is clear: to reduce meat consumption. Preferably all over the world, but now – to begin with – first at Fontys University of Applied Sciences for Child and Education. “I train people to become kindergarten teachers in primary schools. But then there must still be primary schools. We are burning up the earth very fast right now. You can prevent that by eating less meat, so why shouldn’t we do it at Fontys?”

The teacher took no chances when he made the choice to submit his proposal to management. And he had his reasons for that. “I didn’t know if I wanted to be in that field of strength. Before the summer holidays I decided to just do it and sent the email. Weeks later, the decision had already been made: FHKE will scrap meat when food is ordered from the institute. For example on study days. Or during art week.”

Verouden received many reactions to the decision. Positive, but also negative. “Some colleagues want to decide for themselves what they eat, others primarily disagreed with the management’s decision-making. They would have liked to talk more about it. I react stoically to that. I’ve seen all the arguments come up before. If I were to comment on everything…”

The teacher would like to state that he does not want to force eating vegetarian food. He just wants to contribute to a better world. ‘Becoming the vegetarian guy’ is the last thing he wants. Awareness must take place in stages, he also sees that. “I want to leave the land in a better condition than I found it. And I can tell you: it’s quite a task. Fontys could lend a helping hand by making it vegetarian wherever the institution orders food.” [Karen Luiken]

Leave a Comment