Ann Arbor, Michigan recently rolled out the A2Zero Carbon-Neutrality Plan and it emphasizes a plant-rich diet! The A2Zero initiative was passed in an effort to achieve community-wide carbon neutrality by 2030—less than a decade away! The plan reads, “To achieve carbon neutrality, the entire Ann Arbor community must eliminate 2.1 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions annually…” Read: not an easy feat! The plan incorporates six core strategies to reach neutrality including our personal fave, strategy five. This step encourages Ann Arborites to change the way they use, reuse, and dispose of materials through the expansion of the community composting and recycling programs, implementation of sustainable building materials, adoption of a more circular economy, and consumption of a plant-rich diet.
Ann Arbor Office of Sustainability and Innovations
The vision predicts that Ann Arbor residents will lead healthier, happier, and more sustainable lives by increasing the amount of fruits, vegetables, and grains they consume while decreasing the amount of meat in their diets. The Ann Arbor Office of Sustainability and Innovations encourages community members to make food choices that support rural communities, respect farm animals, provide farmers with fair wages, are nutritious and in season, and require minimal packaging. With support from farmers market staff, A2’s City Council will begin making changes to food purchases for activities at city parks and recreation facilities. Recently, the Ann Arbor Saturday market hosted Shimmy Shack, one of our favorite Michigan-based vegan food trucks featuring retro plant-based eats like Coney dogs, nachos, and burgers.
Benefits of Plant-Based Diets
The city will begin working with the University of Michigan on environmental food labeling and will explore expansion of this practice to all city facilities where food is stored. Later, the city will work with partner organizations to develop and distribute materials about the benefits of plant-based diets. While Ann Arbor’s A2Zero Carbon-Neutrality Plan calls for spending over $200K in the promotion of plant-rich diets over the next decade, the anticipated benefits of the plan include improving the overall health of the community, supporting the local economy, and increasing access to healthy and nutritious food options, especially for low-income residents living in food deserts. Officials believe the A2Zero plan will be able to scale and transfer to other communities down the road. We can’t think of a better way to spread the vegan message—major kudos to Ann Arbor, Michigan!