This month, Plant Based for the Planet launched in Montclair – an event in which 12 restaurants in town are taking part of a climate initiative that encourages locals to choose plant-based dishes. The initiative is presented by Planted Society and in partnership with Humane Montclair + the Montclair Office of Environmental Affairs. The month-long program is happening now and runs through March 31st. As the event comes to close, powerful voices in the climate change conversation — including NJ State Senator Cory Booker, Farm Sanctuary founder Gene Baur, climate author Glen Merzer, and Harvard Lecturer Sparsha Saha — have expressed their strong support for the event. Learn more about Plant Based for the Planet and the strong support it has received from local leaders.
The purpose of Plant Based for the Planet is to educate the Montclair community about the value of choosing plant-based options. This is why the coordinators partnered with a variety of restaurants to have options for everyone, including Italian, Mediterranean, Portuguese, Indian, Thai, French, Southern cuisine, + so much more.
The participating restaurants include: Tino’s Artisan Pizza Co., worldFLATS, Mesob Ethiopian, Laboratorio Kitchen, Egan + Sons, Basil Indian + Thai Grill, Le Salbuen Cafe, Mercado, Coffee + Cornbread, Marcel Bakery + Kitchen, Faubourg, and Toast.
Annette Batson, Founder of Humane Montclair, told The Montclair Girl: “This is about increasing access and choice with respect to plant-based dining in Montclair. By including so many different types of cuisine and styles of restaurants – from fast casual to dinner-date worthy – and the corresponding range of price points, there are so many more choices and it is accessible to all.”
Background on the Plant Based Event
This is the second time ever that Plant Based for the Planet is bringing the initiative to a new city. The first one was held in Austin, Texas, during the month of November 2022 and was in partnership with Austin’s Department of Sustainability.
Over 30 restaurants participated and thousands of residents took part in choosing plant-based dishes while dining out, which help to decrease the carbon output of the city.
According to statistics found on the press release: “The carbon footprint of eating one fast-food hamburger every day for one year is the equivalent of driving a car 7,196 miles, or crossing the US about 2.5 times. Alternatively, eating a daily serving of beans every day for a year, is only the equivalent of driving a car 93 miles – about the distance from New York City to The Hamptons.”
Due to its “amazing success,” the founders decided to seek out a second location, which of course was Montclair.
Britty Mann, Executive Director for Planted Society, told MG: “When Annette and I met, we discussed her idea to promote plant-based dishes in Montclair, and I thought it was the perfect opportunity to see if Plant Based for the Planet could expand beyond Austin.”
Annette expressed concern for the environment and wanted to bring more attention to the community’s plant-based menu options.
Support from Climate Activists
Throughout the month of March, Plant Based for the Planet has garnered support from eco-conscious leaders, per Veg World Magazine. Among those in support of the plant-based program is NJ Senator Corey Booker, who said the following about the initiative: “I celebrate this initiative and the restaurants in Montclair that are serving plant-based dishes so the community can have more delicious, healthy meal choices. Community efforts like this help to raise awareness about the many benefits—both personally and for our climate—of a plant-based diet.”
Other notable figures to express support for the program include Farm Sanctuary founder Gene Baur, climate author Glen Merzer, and Harvard Lecturer Sparsha Saha. And apparently, local businesses are feeling that support in tangible ways. Per Veg World Magazine, participating Montclair businesses have reported “higher than normal sales” and “many new customers” because of the new climate-friendly options.
Be Part of A Change
Though the program ends on March 31st, there’s still time to get in on the action. To take part, all you have to do is order a plant-based dish from one – or however many you’d like – dish from the participating 12 restaurants. To spice it up, the restaurants will be switching up menus and offering new specials.
Participants will be able to win some amazing prizes for taking part in the initiative. Post on social media by tagging #MontclairPlanetChallenge, @plantedsociety, and @humanemontclair. Then, at the end of the month, participants will then vote on their favorite dish. The restaurants will be competing against each other, and the restaurant with the most votes will win the Chef’s Challenge.
Everyone who votes will also be entered into a drawing to win awesome eco-friendly prizes from participating sponsors.
Britty shared with MG that Montclair’s success will depend on the future of the initiative. “We think that, if we’re lucky enough to find more community leaders as passionate and dedicated as Annette in Montclair, that Plant Based for the Planet is something we can continue to bring to cities across the country, one at a time,” Britty said.
In terms of whether it will become an annual event, Planted Society’s Founder added, “If we receive enough community support, and if our amazing partner restaurants are happy with the outcome, we expect that Plant Based for the Planet is something we can continue to celebrate year after year in Montclair.”
Annette shared, “I hope that this is just the beginning of a new plant-based dining scene in Montclair, and that people are empowered with the knowledge that they can make a positive impact on the environment, and their health, one meal at a time.”
Visit https://plantedsociety.org/montclair/ to learn more.