Hudson Valley Parent

HVP April 2015

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14 Hudson Valley Parent ■ April 2015 By KATHLEEN WILLCOX T here are only so many opportu- nities in the day for us to educate our growing children about the importance of good food choices. As they grow older, our children enter a landscape in which sugar, fat and artificially manufactured everything can be consumed with- out supervision. Parents don't have a shot at winning this round of the parenting game — or do we? "Most kids eat the vast majority of their calories in school," notes Sandy McKelvey, a mom of two who lives in Cold Spring and is an advocate of local foods in local schools. "But we have more control over what those calories are comprised of than we might think." In fact, if your child has come home from school requesting a kale salad, you probably have McKelvey and other grassroots mom-activists in the region to thank for that develop- ment. Through persistence and the parenting grapevine, she has helped introduce locally grown foods into schools throughout the Hudson Valley. Farm to school Her initiative, Hudson Valley Farm to School, has humble roots. It began as a small, personal project after a discussion about cafeteria food with a fellow member of her Community Supported Agriculture share from Common Grounds. "I was talking with another mem- ber about the depressing concept of cafeteria food," says McKelvey. "He had just moved here from Michigan and he told me to research 'farm to school,' which is really robust in Michigan. I started looking into it and I was fascinated by the potential." With her daughter Joia in kinder- garten at the time, McKelvey was eager to plant the seeds of healthy eating early. "I think schools have a respon- sibility to educate children about responsible food choices and make sure that they have healthy options," McKelvey says. "Luckily, I found that schools agree. It's just a matter of implementing it and finding cost effective ways to get good, local food in the cafeterias." McKelvey found a willing partner in her daughter's school, Haldane El- ementary in Cold Spring. She joined their wellness committee, made for- mal presentations to the powers that be about the links between nutrition and scholastic achievement, and she persisted tirelessly in her goal to get You mean, French fries aren't a veggie? Local activists are bringing food education to our schools (Continued on Page 16) Second grade students at JV Forrestal Elementary in Beacon participate in the Chef in the Classroom program with chef interns from the Culinary Institute of America. Carrots were the featured vegetable for the day.

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