About us

Mission

The Coalition for Healthy School Food (CHSF) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that introduces plant-based foods and nutrition education in schools to educate the whole school community about the health, environmental, and social justice issues of our food choices.

What We Do

  • Healthy School Food Hotline – call with your questions!
  • School Food Environment Assessment – we’ll do an evaluation and suggest positive changes.
  • Support for School Food Changes – how can we help your school?
  • Wellness Committee Support & Consulting
  • Develop & Distribute Plant-Based Entrees
  • Help Schools Market Plant-Based Entrees
  • Training for School Cooks
  • Conduct Pilot Programs
  • Create Educational Curriculum & Resources
  • Provide our Food UnEarthed: Uncovering the Truth About Food Curriculum for PreK – 2.
  • Visiting Chefs Program in NYC – plant-based chefs cook with high school students.
  • Family & Consumer Sciences Cooking Classes – curriculum & recipes.
  • Provide Speakers for Teacher PD’s, PTA’s, Administrators, Food Service Personnel
  • Participating in School Health & Wellness Fairs
  • Provide Family Dinner Nights – includes plant-based meal, speaker, and children’s activities.
  • Produce Conferences & Workshops
  • Policy Change

Our Team

Staff

Amie Hamlin – Executive Director

Kelley Wind – Program Director

Naomi Sommers – Ithaca Area Program Manager

Terri Joseph – Ithaca Area After School Cooking Class Manager

Board Members

Tracy Hubbell – Chair

Michael Greger, MD

Cynthia King

Marilyn Mayers

Amie Hamlin – Executive Director

Treasurer

Bradley Goldberg

Advisory Board

Kate Adamick, JD – Foods Systems Consultant, School Food Advocate

Suzanne M. Babich, DrPH, MS – Associate Dean of Global Health, Professor of Health Policy and Management, Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health.

T. Colin Campbell, PhD – Professor Emeritus of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University, author, The China Study

Jayni Chase, Founder, Center for Environmental Education

Ann Cooper – The Renegade Lunch Lady, author, Lunch Lessons

Fran Costigan – Vegan Pastry Chef Instructor, Author, Vegan Chocolate and More Great Good Dairy Free Desserts Naturally

Joel Fuhrman, MD – Author, Disease Proof Your Child and Eat to Live

Jennifer Greene – Communications Consultant

Pat Hysert – Secretary, NYS PTA

Jenny Matthau, Food & Wellness Educator

Tracye McQuirter, MPH – author of By Any Greens Necessary: A Revolutionary Guide for Black Women Who Want to Eat Great, Get Healthy, Lose Weight, and Look Phat

Milton Mills, MD – Physician and co-author of Racial Bias in the US Dietary Guidelines Part 1 and Part 2.

Mehmet Oz, MD – Director, Cardiovascular Institute, Columbia University

Christine Wallace – Consultant: Good Food, Fun Food, a School Food Service consulting company, specializing in $ .06 Certification process, menu improvement and Smarter Lunchroom Initiatives; former Food Service Director.

History

The Coalition for Healthy School Food started out as the New York Coalition for Healthy School Lunches, Inc. We incorporated in 2004, after writing and getting passed, unanimously, a legislative resolution in the state of New York. A legislative resolution is not a law, it is a recommendation. It is introduced and voted on the same way as a law is, however its purpose is educational. The organization was formed to implement the recommendations of the resolution. In January of 2005, we received our 501 (c) (3) non-profit status from the IRS. After a few years we changed our name to Coalition for Healthy School Food, to drop “New York” since we help schools around the country, and to address the whole school food environment, including, but not only, lunches. Our success is largely based on our successful partnerships with many different organizations,  businesses, and schools, plus a huge dose of passion for the cause.

We reached out to New York City Office of Food and Nutrition Services to get involved in promoting healthy food and our first project was commissioning a CD featuring songs about healthy eating. We hired Jay Mankita, and he wrote the songs for the CD, Eat Like a Rainbow. He then came and performed these songs in school cafeterias. After we brought him there to do that, New York City brought him back for several weeks to do more. You can download the album for free here.

Our next project in New York City brought our partner Candle Cafe into a school in Harlem to offer and promote plant-based entrees, and this was the beginning of our formal partnership. These entrees expanded to several schools. When new regulations took effect in 2012, requiring standardized menus, we asked if the Office of Food and Nutrition Services would create a vegetarian menu for PS244: The Active Learning Elementary School (TALES) in Flushing, Queens. Thus, the vegetarian menu was born, to widespread media attention all over the world. PS343: The Peck Slip School, PS971: The School of Math, Science, and Healthy Living, and PS90: The Magnet School for Environmental Studies and Community Wellness followed. We have a formal partnership with the New York City Office of Food and Nutrition Services that began in 2008.

Meanwhile our Executive Director moved from Long Island to Ithaca, NY, and in 2008 began, in partnership with our local Food Coop, Greenstar, a private version of the federal Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Snack Program in Beverly J. Martin Elementary School. We ran the program for two years there, and feeling confident it would continue, turned the program over to another group. The program continues to today and has expanded to five schools in Ithaca, We share an office with Youth Farm Project, the organization that runs the program now.

Our next project in Ithaca was (and still is) our Cool School Food program, the development of plant-based entrees to be served at lunch. The recipes were developed in partnership with the very well known Moosewood Restaurant. Ten of the recipes have been shared nationwide to 26,000 schools, including all schools in California and New York. The Cool School Food program is the development and promotion of Cool School Food recipes which are “cool” because they feature recipes from cultures around the world, and because they are plant-based, keep the planet cool. Many other programs have come from the Cool School Food program.

Our formal and ongoing partnerships are with New York City and Ithaca, NY, however, we have helped many other schools around the country, and even receive inquiries for help from other countries. We are very proud of our accomplishments. There is no lack of work to be accomplished, and all the pieces are in place for change. The only thing we need to reach more schools, students, families, and school employees is the funding to grow. Please, if you are inspired by what we have accomplished, help us accomplish more by making a donation.