Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Wellness Committee grows in Hoboken and First Lady Michelle Obama visits Newark!

This blog was started because after I saw what our kids were eating, shocked at the poor quality of food they were receiving, and concerned with their health, I felt that it was important that the Hoboken School district form a Wellness Committee to help address these issues through wellness policies that really impact our kids health in a positive way.  On Monday this committee met for the first time! Today, I reached out to the Hoboken School District with the hopes of serving on this committee even though my child now is in a Charter school. reported on it:  Hoboken Board of Ed Forms Wellness Committee.  The committee is set to focus on nutrition education for both students and parents, exercise, and also food choice. I look forward to following their progress.

And in other exciting news:

In the summer of 2009, Maple Avenue School begun their journey to sustain healthy living and eradicate obesity. And so the 'Growing Minds Program' was born!  With funding and support from Slow Food Northern New Jersey and the Beth Israel Medical Center, they were able to implement and integrate nutrition into the curriculum and also promote the importance of good nutrition.

Slow Food Northern NJ provided grow boxes, seeds, planting materials, and curriculum for three different grade levels which was easily integrated within the curriculum. I am huge believer in making the connection of healthy nutrition through school gardens. Not only is it exciting for them to watch their hard work flourish but they can make a real connection with where food actually comes from! 

The program was so successful it caught the attention of First Lady Michelle Obama and her Let's Move campaign. Tomorrow she will be visiting Newarks' Maple Avenue School, to talk about nutrition and physical education. Mayor Cory Booker will moderate the event which is part presentation and part discussion. According to statistics released earlier this year, one in five Newark children are obese; 43% of the city’s boys and 45 % of its girls, according to the Center for State Health Policy. 

'Go Newark' and 'Go Hoboken' for trying to the change the future of our children!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Food Revolution (TV) - Movie Poster - 11 x 17A lot has changed since the last school year. The biggest change for us was deciding to take our daughter out of the public school system and put her in a brand-spanking-new dual language charter school. The school is small; 132 students and 6 classrooms, two per grade (K, 1st and 2nd).
I love the concept of a small school that allows for lots of parent involvement with the added bonus of learning 2 languages. And that's exactly why we are attending ¡HoLa! | Hoboken Dual Language Charter School.

Jamie's Food Revolution: Rediscover How to Cook Simple, Delicious, Affordable MealsThe school has an almost radical approach  towards health and nutrition. For one they chose Revolution Foods as their food service provider. While popular on the west coast, Rev Foods is trying to break into the market on the east coast and so is fairly 'new' in the area.  With school lunches coming in at $3.45 per meal compared to the $2.75 (Hoboken public schools) it can get pricey.  But as we've already seen, cheap food comes with a price far more devastating on our kids and the environment. Rev Foods began delivering October 1st and is going strong. So far I like what I see on the menu- more beans and more vegetarian options. I will start recording the meals next week.

The school is also encouraging healthy snacks not only for everyday, but also for birthday parties and other celebrations.  I like the concept of less cupcakes and more fruit! However, I think a healthy balance between the 2 is necessary: how about banana, blueberry chocolate cupcakes?

The most exciting thing for me (and the kids I think), is that even before the school opened its doors, they had built 3 above-ground planters or grow boxes (one for each grade). The kindergartners planted lettuce and oregano. My child came home with such excitement at the prospect of growing and eating what they had just planted.  And so, a school garden finally grows in Hoboken!

We also donated our worm factory to the school. We decided it was time for them to move out of our small urban home and into a large more open and welcoming environment. While I love the concept of the worm factory, it does come with some drawbacks; mainly the 100's of fruit flies!  At least they now have a home that not only inspires learning but also provides nutrient-rich compost for our schools' garden.  Sadly I do not miss them.

The winter is almost upon us and so until spring arrives and the bulbs flower, the garden will remain mostly barren. Spring will bring with it new life and new adventures and I am looking forward to it already!