Weaver, Beverly. 1981. “Vegetarianism Gains Popularity as Its Benefits Become More Evident.”

This primary source is an article by a staff writer for the Daily Tar Heel titled “Vegetarianism gains popularity as its benefits become evident,” and it describes vegetarian life on Chapel Hill’s campus in 1981. The report starts off by defining what it means to be vegetarian and how the amount of people who identify themselves as vegetarian is continuously increasing. The piece then goes on to recount why students enjoy eating a meatless diet and the benefits of converting. The column lets readers know that the National Academy of Science National Research Council approves this type of diet, but there are concerns about pregnant women cutting out meat as well as worry about meeting protein requirements. The write-up finishes with news from Howard Southerland, the director of UNC’s food services at the time, on his willingness to listen to recommendations from students for more vegetarian food options. Overall, vegetarianism was becoming more widely spread and common across the United States than it was in previous eras[1].

This source is relevant to what was going on in the county and Chapel Hill specifically during this time period because of the obesity epidemic. Many Americans were overweight, and a movement to encourage citizens to practice more wholesome food practices began. However, the government feared these dietary recommendations would hurt the producers of meats and processed foods. This is when activists began to speak out and critique the current American food system[2]. Vegetarianism and veganism was growing as people became educated on issues such as pollution caused by the meat industry, animal cruelty, and the unequal access to nutritious foods. Chapel Hill students were included in this movement as they also recognized these issues and altered their own eating habits to fight against the detrimental standard American diet.


Works Cited

[1] Weaver, Beverly. 1981. “Vegetarianism Gains Popularity as Its Benefits Become More Evident.”

[2] Wallach, Jennifer, and Lindsey Swindall. 2014. American Appetites.

Abby Parker