Food Revolution Heroes
Our Heroes are people in communities all across America who are bringing the Food Revolution to life. They are combining their own passions and know-how with what they've learned from the Food Revolution. They are helping us all eat more fresh, healthy food. Use their ideas to make change in your community.
Diana's son was entering first grade at a new school when she learned of Jamie’s work in Huntington, WV. Diana signed the Food Revolution petition and volunteered for the PTA, quickly discovering that other moms were alarmed about poor nutrition, childhood obesity and diabetes in their community. With the help of the PTA and experienced activists from Food for Lunch, she formed a Nutrition Committee. As a first task, they want to get rid of the sugary artificial chocolate milk served at school meals. A 30-day trial is currently under way and we await more news!
When Marlene's kids first started school, potato chips and ice creams were available at lunchtime and cupcakes were given out as birthday treats. A cookie-eating contest was the last straw and Marlene approached her principal. She helped energize a Wellness Committee and equipped them with research on childhood eating behavior in school. A core recommendation was a district-wide end to selling “competitive" foods in elementary schools and, to her surprise, most people agreed. Emphasis was switched from providing sugary snacks to fun activities and games during school celebrations, thereby reducing the amount of sugary snacks consumed by kids.
As a chef and former principal, Bill and Nancy created Wellness in the Schools to serve fresh food and fight disease in NYC. Their Cook for Kids program is now in 19 public schools, providing delicious "minimally processed” meals to 15,000 children. The campaign deploys a culinary school graduate into each school to support and train cafeteria staff. Working in a trifecta with the NYC office of school food and individual principals, they have created new menus and helped the district to include healthy items. Wellness in the Schools is rapidly equipping NYC schools with the ability to develop scratch-cooking, and healthy eating habits.
Marshall Reid was an overweight 10 year old who decided to take action. Marshall and his family decided to improve their diet over a month, to re-learn their roles with food and stimulate active decision-making. Through Portion Size Me: 31 Days to Better Health, the documentary Marshall and his family created to highlight their efforts, the family improved their relationship with food and their health. Marshall's efforts have also inspired his school to promote a more healthy environment; they recently applied for and received a grant to start a garden and have sent several teachers for additional "health" education.
Sara is gearing up to embark on a 6,000 mile, self-supported bicycle tour across America in her quest to raise awareness of the need for more wholesome foods in schools. During time spent working in public health and research, she has noticed an absence of student input with regard to school meals. The cycling tour will take her through diverse communities where she will have the opportunity to interview students and document their true opinions. In each community, Sara will deliver interactive lessons to classes within the local school system to facilitate critical thinking about their current food environments.
April introduced Launch a Lunch, a campaign to improve the food served in cafeterias throughout her school district in West Virginia. April recently fronted a fundraising campaign, which raised the capital to enable the consultancy firm Sustainable Food Systems to conduct a countywide assessment to determine the changes that are required to improve school food. It has been concluded that it will cost $18 per child to bring about the required change, a large sum in a district of more than 27,000 kids. However, April has drawn up a detailed plan outlining how the campaign will succeed. We can't wait to see her progress!
Project Lunch is an offshoot of Teens Turning Green, the teen-led advocacy organization this activist mom created along with her daughter and other young women. Project Lunch aims to rethink and transform school lunch programs across Marin County in Northern California. Through education, engagement and innovation, Project Lunch is striving to develop a "Platinum Standard" for school food, embracing nutritious, locally sourced organic food offerings, while also initiating policy change. Project Lunch invites participation from all parts of the community – parents, students, school officials, nutrition directors, suppliers, chefs – and has more than 100 participants involved in its inclusive Stakeholder Collaborative. Judi and Project Lunch have great materials and templates available online.
Jill Florin was inspired to campaign for improved school food after seeing funnel cake as a lunch entree at her children’s school. She started a Nutrition in The Schools initiative in her school district, which resulted in the school introducing a fruit or vegetable of the month. The chosen item appears regularly on the menu along with its nutritional attributes. Additionally, Lifestyle Lunch of the Day has been introduced, giving kids the opportunity to taste potential items for the menu at monthly testings.
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- Ali Berlow, Island Grown Initative & Edible Vineyard
- Thippi Fleckenstein, Food Revolution Community Leader
- Kim Gerber, Nutrition Advocate & Creator Of Out Of The Box Food
- Brent A. Marsteller, President & CEO, Cabell Huntington Hospital
- Amy Kalafa, Filmmaker, Farmer, Holistic Health Counselor
- Amy Kehs, 'Amy's Food Revolution' Blogger & Cooking Teacher
- Kate Adamick, Co-Founder Of Cook For America
- Jennie Cook, Co-Founder Of Food For Lunch
- Peggy Curry, Co-Founder Of GrowingGreat
- Diana Starr, Parent Volunteer Lomita Magnet School, Los Angeles
- Marlene Schwartz, Parent Activist Guildford CT
- Nancy Easton And Bill Telepan, Wellness In The Schools
- Marshall Reid, Portion Size Me Video Blogger
- Sara Salo, School Food Bicycle Tour
- April Hamilton, School Food Campaigner
- Judi Shils, Founder And Executive Director, Teens Turning Green
- Jill Florin, Nutrition In The Schools, Upper Dublin, PA