Four cities in Brazil have pledged to serve only plant-based meals in school cafeterias by the end of 2019 - in a move described as 'historic'.
Officials from the cities - Serrinha, Barroca, Teofilandia and Biritinga in the northeastern state of Bahia - teamed up with animal welfare charity Humane Society International [HSI] in order to implement the program.
The schools will reduce meat, dairy and egg consumption by 25 percent per semester in order to reach their 100 percent plant-based goal.
According to HSI: "This marks the first time in history that any school districts have committed to having exclusively plant-based cafeterias.
"The change will impact over 23 million meals a year."
The project - called Escola Sustentável (Sustainable School) - launched on March 19.
Four days of plant-based culinary trainings for the cities' school cooks, led by HSI's Chef André Vieland followed.
According to HSI: "Chef André taught cooks how to prepare cost-effective, nutritious recipes, using accessible local ingredients.
"Escola Sustentável's mission is to improve student health, reduce the cities’ environmental footprint (especially water consumption), and empower local farmers who will be able to supply the school districts with plant-based foods."
Leticia Baird, Brazilian Public Prosecutor for the Environment in the State of Bahia, who led the creation of the program, said: "Providing our school districts with plant-based meals will help save environmental and public financial resources, allow for a future of healthy adults, and build a fair world for the animals."
Sandra Lopes, Food Policy Manager for HSI in Brazil, added: "We applaud the cities of Serrinha, Barroca, Teofilandia, and Biritinga for becoming the world’s first school districts to commit to going 100 percent plant-based.
"It's an honor to have worked with city authorities, nutritionists and school cooks on the adoption and implementation of this initiative, and we're excited to continue working closely with them to ensure the success of this program."