The Burger Swap Project Asks Local High Schools “Where’s the Beef”

El Monte Union High School District students received access to plant-based food thanks to a $5,000 grant from City of Hope, which helped bring to life the Burger Swap Project: an effort that encouraged students to try the plant-based Impossible™ Burger instead of a beef burger.

As part of the Burger Swap Project, students from Rosemead High School, South El Monte High School and Mountain View High School had the opportunity to choose between a plant-based Impossible Burger or an animal beef patty during the two-week promotion held in early March.

“We feel fantastic knowing we were able to provide plant-based food options for the students of El Monte Union,” City of Hope Director of Community Benefit Nancy Clifton-Hawkins said. “We wanted students to have the opportunity to try something new and learn more about how having a plant-based diet can aid in preventing cancer, diabetes or many other harmful chronic diseases.”

During the two-week promotion, representatives from City of Hope, Impossible Foods and District administrators attended MVHS for a Burger Swap visit day, celebrating the addition of new, plant-based options. During the visit, Vista Academy students dressed up as cows and a burger to help create excitement for the program.

Students also spread awareness by developing a Public Service Announcement (PSA) to encourage their classmates to try plant-based options and experience the easy swap of beef patty meals. Four PSAs were scripted, voted on, filmed and produced by the Vista Academy students, who premiered their videos during the visit.

“I got to put my creative skills to the test for this project writing the ‘James Bond: Mission Impossible’ script,” MVHS Vista Academy junior Jose Ibarra said. “As a team, we worked really hard and had a lot of fun coming up with ways we could use our peer influence to make an impact on campus and also filming and editing our videos.”

Throughout the two-week promotion, students who chose the plant-based alternative option received a QR code on their burger, prompting them to fill out a survey based on their experience. Students who completed the survey redeemed a coupon for a free Impossible Burger at two local Habit Burger Grill restaurants.

“At El Monte Union, we take pride in our efforts to maintain a well-rounded academic program that includes an emphasis on health and wellness, athletics, universal breakfast and healthy eating for our students,” EMUHSD Superintendent Dr. Edward Zuniga said. “I want to thank City of Hope, Impossible Foods and our Department of Nutrition Services for supporting our goals to improve the health of our students by providing plant-based meal options that meet their nutritional needs.” (VMA Communications)