We have ongoing formal partnerships in New York City and Ithaca, NY. These partnerships allow us to reach thousands of children, their parents, teachers, food service personnel, and administrators. But they also serve as learning laboratories that help us learn best practices and which then allows us to better help other schools that reach out for assistance. Volunteers are an integral part of our programs! If you are interested in volunteering, please let us know!
Partnership with NYC Schools
We work in formal partnership with the NYC Office of Food & Nutrition Services. Together, we created a vegetarian menu, and helped four schools adopt it. We also work in partnership with individual schools.
Partnership with Ithaca Schools
In our partnership with Ithaca schools we work together with the Child Nutrition Department as well as with individual schools, providing educational programming.
Food UnEarthed Curriculum
Our Food Unearthed curriculum delivers plant-based nutrition education that is evidence based and incorporates the impact our food choices have on health, the environment, and farmed animals. Each lesson includes a snack and there are several hands on food preparation classes each year, as well as field trip opportunities to restaurants, farmers markets, and grocery stores.
Cool School Food in the Classroom
Our Cool School Food in the Classroom is a recipe specific curriculum that includes a slideshow about the culture the food is from, a sensory experience with the ingredients (see, touch, smell), tasting the prepared food, and then an inquiry discussion about the Power of Plants. We do this in the morning on days when a plant-based option is on the menu for lunch, so that students can try the food ahead of time.
Visiting Vegan Chefs Program
Our Visiting Vegan Chefs program is unique in that we bring plant-based chefs into culinary high schools in New York City. Without our program, students wouldn’t have formal exposure to vegan cooking in their program at school.
Taste Testing in the Cafeteria Line
At one elementary school, providing taste testing in the line increased consumption of Ms. Patel’s Rajma by 11 times! Prior to taste testing, about five students opted for this delicious Indian Kidney Bean curry. After the tasting, 55 students chose it. Taste testing is a risk-free way for students to try food before deciding to get it for lunch.
Family Dinner Nights
Family Dinner Nights are a free plant-based dinner for the whole family and anyone who works in the school. Usually we have a speaker such as a medical doctor for the adults and provide a physical activity that combines learning about nutrition for the children. Occasionally instead of a speaker we will have hands on learning activities stationed around the room.
FACS Cooking Classes
Not all schools still offer Family & Consumer Sciences (FACS) classes, but they should! Cooking is a life skill and we are helping students learn how to cook. Many schools can not afford the classes, and even when they offer the classes, the budgets they have available to them are very low. We provide the food and the many volunteers it takes to teach over forty students during three class periods how to cook. For each group, we cook one recipe that is already on the lunch menu, and another recipe that students test for possible addition to the menu.
Teacher Professional Development
We provide medical doctors, registered dietitians, and others as speakers for teacher professional development workshops. We are developing a series of presentations that we also give.
After School Cooking Classes
We teach after school cooking classes in Ithaca and New York City. Generally these classes are for 3 – 5th graders but we have done 1st and 2nd grade classes as well as high school classes. Students almost always eat all the food they prepare and lament that there isn’t more. The food we make in the cooking classes in Ithaca is the plant-based recipes that are on the lunch menu. After school cooking students become ambassadors for healthy eating!
Food Service Trainings
We provide training to food service personnel, including presentations and hands on cooking in the kitchen. This group is critical to reach, as they often play a huge role in decisions that children make about what they eat.
We present and/or table at a number of statewide level conferences, including the New York Dry Bean Farmers, New York State School Nutrition Association, New York State PTA, the New York State School Board Association and others. This allows us to reach many decision makers.