James Cameron is famous for many things, movies and lawsuits most notable among them. But he is also involved with many other causes, especially education. His wife, Suzy Amis Cameron, founded the MUSE school in California, the goal of which can be summed up in a sentence: “Inspiring and preparing young people to live consciously with themselves, one another, and the planet.” Sounds pretty good. Cameron backs the school financially, and also participates in some of its programs, like when he brought elementary and middle school students to the Cameron ranch to see the Deepsea Challenger submarine, which once took Cameron to the lowest point on Earth, the Mariana Trench. Now both Camerons have set their sights on another area of the school, the lunches.
School lunches are straight up nasty, especially given the weak showing of the FDA, which believes ketchup is a vegetable. The food is also not particularly eco-friendly, which is part of why a bunch of schools have adopted the “Meatless Monday” program. Cutting out meat for even one day helps reduce environmental strains. But since the MUSE school’s mission involves sustainability and creates partnerships with green industries and organizations, they want to go a step further by cutting out all meat and dairy, becoming the first school to install a fully plant-based lunch program.
The school already has a “seed-to-table” program in which all 140 students participate. Taking lessons from the school gardener, the kids built raised beds and plant their own fruits, herbs, and vegetables which are later served for lunch and comprise approximately 20% of the total food served. The ultimate goal is to double that number, and food grown during the summer is also sold to local restaurants.
Just as James Cameron started working on Avatar and turning his attention to weaving environmental issues into a massive Hollywood blockbuster, his wife started working on MUSE. Since then, the Camerons have sent their own kids there, and both continue to play a role in forming the school. James donated solar “flower” panels to supply power, and the school even hired a falconer who gets his birds to eat all the rodents and pests around. As might be obvious from Avatar, the Camerons are increasingly invested in sustainability, and have themselves become vegans. While many decisions can help reduce the strain on the environment, food is among the most significant. I wonder what they’d think about eating crickets. I bet that school could create a pretty awesome cricket farm, at least until one of the students decided that it’d be a great prank to let out all the insects. I guess then they’d find out whether the hawks have a taste for bugs.