On October 23rd, the New York Coalition for Healthy School Food (NYCHSF) hosted their Annual Fall Gala, “Passport to Wellness: Your Ticket to the Culinary Adventure of the Year” at the New York Academy of Medicine on the Upper East Side. With food from 25 of New York’s finest vegan restaurants and caterers, it certainly was just that. There were tasteful delights and a surplus of food from popular restaurants Candle 79, Candle Café, V-Spot, Terri, Franchia, Regal Vegan, Angelica Kitchen and Henry’s. Beautiful jazz music was played by Bob Miles & Miles of Music as well as Jay Mankita.
The honorees of this year were Board Co-Chair, Lisa Suriano, and Program Director, Kelley Wind. Inspirational speaker and writer of eleven books, Victoria Moran, was the event’s host along with cardiologist, Robert Ostfeld, MD. Ostfeld gave a compelling speech about benefits of a healthy diet on the heart. Being a vegan himself, naturally he is a proponent of a plant-based diet, and has witnessed children already having heart problems as early on as twelve due to their poor diets.
The gala was a celebration in honor of Food Day, a nationwide campaign for healthy, affordable, and sustainably produced food. All proceeds will support NYCHSF’s work to get healthy, plant based meals and nutrition education in schools to educate the whole school community.
The NYCHSF proudly partners with the NYC Office of School Food, the largest school food service operation in the country and operates their programs in 26 NYC schools. They are responsible for the first public (non-charter) vegetarian school in the country. PS244, in Queens, has had great success with the new menu. In addition, they are working with the T. Colin Campbell Foundation to provide certification training in plant-based nutrition. Seventeen have already completed the program.
Their curriculum, called Food UnEarthed: Uncovering the Truth About Food, is being taught every week to over 500 students in 5 schools. The curriculum includes education on whole foods plant-based nutrition, media literacy, food politics, and critical thinking skills. The lessons are taught by Tashya Knight, their certified elementary teacher.
Last fall, NYCHSF presented their Cooking curriculum for middle school students at the NY State Family and Consumer Sciences conference. NYCHSF is the nonprofit partner of the NYC Vegetarian Food Festival on March 1st and 2nd, 2014.