What is DefaultVeg?

DefaultVeg is simple—make plant-based food the default and give people the choice to opt in for meals with animal products. DefaultVeg is inclusive, reduces your carbon footprint, and increases the healthfulness of your meals.

Making plant-based food the default can help reshape what we think of as a “normal” meal. Whether at a conference or a Shabbat dinner with your community, how food is presented plays a big role in what we choose to eat. DefaultVeg relies on “nudges” to motivate us to choose delicious food that’s better for us and the planet.

Why DefaultVeg?

DefaultVeg helps Jewish communities align their Jewish values of tzedek (bringing justice to humans, animals, and our land), bal tashchit (avoiding wasteful destruction), tza’ar ba’alei chayim (preventing unnecessary suffering to animals), oshek (protecting workers from exploitation) with their eating practices. And with DefaultVeg, everyone can choose the meal that’s right for them.

Download our one-pagers to learn more about how to bring DefaultVeg to your synagogue, Hillel, or organization.

How does DefaultVeg work?

There are several strategies that can be used to implement a DefaultVeg practice, including:


Who is DefaultVeg?

“Avodah is adopting DefaultVeg for all meetings & events we host because our food choices can and do make an impact in the world. We want to help shift our purchasing practices away from factory farming – a root cause of social and environmental injustice – and achieve closer alignment with our Jewish and justice values including shmirat ha’adamah (protecting the earth), tza’ar ba’alei chaymim (preventing cruelty toward animals), oshek (labor justice), and tikkun olam (repairing the world). And I am especially proud that this initiative is alumni-inspired! At Avodah we aim to inspire our participants to become leaders for social change whose work for justice is rooted in and nourished by Jewish values.”

– Cheryl Cook, CEO

 “Throughout our history, Congregation Beth Chayim Chadashim (BCC) has been a trailblazer. We were the first LGBTQIA+ synagogue in the world. We pioneered the use of gender-neutral God language in our siddur in the 1970s and were among the first to adopt policies that advance inclusiveness and social justice. We are excited to have achieved another first – the first synagogue in the United States to adopt a DefaultVeg food policy.”

– Brett Trueman, President

“JCUA’s mission is to strive for justice and equity in our city, country and across the world. In order to align our food choices with these essential values, we adopt DefaultVeg as our food practice for all meetings and events hosted by JCUA, to shift our purchasing practices away from factory farming—a root cause of social injustice for humans, animals, and the environment.”

“Peninsula Temple Beth El is a community leader in environmental and social justice and strives to provide a sustainable environment for all. One of the best ways we can align our daily practices with our values for social and environmental justice is through our food choices. We’ve chosen to adopt Greener by Default, the simple idea of serving plant-based meals by default and asking diners to opt in for meals with animal products, as our food practice for meetings and events hosted by the temple.”

“DefaultVeg has been great! Members seem to really enjoy the new veg catering options and remarkably, I haven’t heard a single person complain about the shift. On the contrary, members have complimented the quality & variety of our new go-to veggie meals, and one member even told me that she is now trying to implement DefaultVeg in her own home. I personally feel really good about offering members healthy, more environmentally conscious choices, because doing so sits squarely with SketchPad’s Jewish values.”

– Naomi Spungen, Operations Coordinator

Interested in adding your organization to our growling list of organizations serving sustainable, inclusive meals by default? Contact us to learn more.

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