Slow Food in Schools Update

October 24, 2006

On Thursday, October 12, we held our first “Slow Food in Schools” meeting.  We had 7 people attending who brought a variety of strengths and interest from permaculture gardening, mothers concerned about school nutrition, and a very enthusiastic employee from Rockingham County Schools.

This meeting provided an opportunity to find out who is interested and how to precede with making the “Slow Foods in School” program a reality here in the Triad.

Our next meeting will be held

Thursday November 2,  2006
at The Green Bean
341 South Elm Street
7pm-9pm. 

We will be reviewing the handout “How to start a Slow Food in Schools Program” (PDF located at the bottom of the page.) This handout has a wealth of information and will serve as a great guide.  If you can, please print out a copy to bring to the meeting and print one for a friend.

Now I would like to tell you a little more about Nichole Henigin who works for Rockingham County Schools who attended the meeting.  Nichole is the School Nutrition Health and Wellness Program Supervisor, which was specifically created in the RCS and the first to do so in the state.  Orange County Schools is only the second district to create such position. Under this role, Nicole serves as Co-chair to the School Health Advisory Council, writes grants and develops/implements programs relating to the nutrition office.  Nicole is working with the USDA Fresh Fruit and Vegetable grant at Draper Elementary School, where students receive FREE fruits and vegetables year round. Families and school staff also benefit from this grant. The American Cancer Society awarded Nicole with a grant to improve middle school nutrition and exercise habits.  The Annie Penn Charitable Trust grant is another grant initiative Nicole helps coordinate with Reidsville City Schools to make more nutritious options available to students.

Wow!  Nichole came to our “Slow Food in Schools” meeting to find out how Slow Foods could benefit her students in Rockingham County.  As a parent and Slow Food participant, Nichole gave me inspiration for school nutrition and the future of our children.

As we continue to progress with the “Slow Food in Schools” program I feel that it is important to become as involved with our schools as possible, especially when they are asking for our help.

Here is a way we can help the children of Rockingham County:

Nichole will be hosting a “Harvest Dinner” at Draper Elementary School in Eden on Tuesday November 14th starting at 6pm.  This “Harvest Dinner” will serve approximately 250 parents and children at a minimal cost of $1 to $2.  They will be pre-selling tickets and Nichole will have a definite head count soon.  There is grant money to buy fresh fruits and vegetables which Nichole would like to purchase from local farmers. 

Nichole is also looking to our Slow Food community for the following help:

Menu suggestions (fruit and produce based to expose parents and children to local and seasonal foods)
Donation of turkey or ham
Local Chef to prepare food
Servers (this will give children an opportunity to experience a nice dining experience)
Centerpieces for the tables
Paper goods
Beverages(possibly hot cider)
Slow Food display and banner

If you would like to help make this “Harvest Dinner” a success for the children and parents of Draper Elementary, please contact Nichole directly at (336) 627-2657 or by email at nmayernik@rock.k12.nc.us.

I would like to take this time to thank everyone who attended the meeting and for the numerous calls and emails expressing concern.  I would also like to thank Nichole Henigin for her enthusiasm and energy that she is sharing with the children and parents in Rockingham County.  It is very exciting to see public schools embrace the importance of eating locally and seasonally and sharing this experience with families.

Sincerely,
Donna Myers
(336) 273-4371
www.epicourier.com

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Guilford County Schools Wellness Policy

October 2, 2006

From Donna at Epicourier:

Guilford County Schools Wellness Policy

The Wellness Policy is a new, nationally mandated policy that is being implemented in public schools across the country this year to combate the current obesity epidemic facing our children.

Here in Guilford County the school administration has put together the policy and procedures that will govern our students enrolled in the Guilford County School System.

I hope that you will read over this new policy and talk with your children about some of the changes they will be seeing and tasting in the cafeteria as well as in the classroom.

For more information on Guilford County Schools Wellness Policy you can contact your child’s school administration or Guilford County Schools School Nutrition Services at (336) 370-3266.

Please read the policy at Epicourier by clicking here. Donna has posted links to other wellness policies and other links of interest to citizens concerned about food in our public schools.


Slow Food in Schools Meeting

September 28, 2006

The Piedmont Slow Food Convivium is exploring the possibility of creating a Slow Food in Schools program for this area.  We will be holding a meeting at:

Cheesecake’s by Alex
315 South Elm Street
Greensboro, NC  27401

Thursday
October 12,  2006
7 p.m. – 9 p.m.

We will be discussing school nutrition, school gardens, and organize for future meetings.  I have provided some helpful links on current policies and other best practices used by other organizations. 

Please invite your friends and family members who share our concern on the state of our childrens health and future. 

Sincerely,
Donna Myers
The Wellness Policy
EpiCourier Online Magazine
Guilford County Schools Wellness Policy with a link to policies across North Carolina
Slow Food in Schools  Read “How to Start a Slow Food in Schools Project”.  It is a fabulous outline for us to model.  
Farm to School: “Eat Smart-Farm Fresh”  National Program
Farm to School 19 states participating
The School Lunch Initiative (SLI)
Rethinking School Lunch (RSL) from the Center for Ecoliteracy
Edible Schoolyards


School Kids at the Market

September 21, 2006

Greensboro Montessori Students at the Farmers' Market

Greensboro Montessori Students at the Farmers' MarketMiddle school kids from Greensboro Montessori (on Horsepen Creek Road, 688-0119) harvested, prepared and served food from their school garden last Saturday, September 16 at the Greensboro Curb Market. Chef Brian Dahlstrom, head chef at the Greensboro coliseum, along with Mary Ellen Smith, their kitchen and catering manager volunteered their time and equipment to conduct a tasting of autumn food. Angie Thompson and Jon McLean of the Montessori school came along for support and picture taking.

Everyone got there early at 7am, heated the grill, sliced and diced, and eventually offered a delicious vegetable hash of potatoes, butternut squash, onion, peppers and basil served on a toasted tortilla to hundreds of marketers.

Greensboro Montessori Students at the Farmers' MarketEveryone had a good time and enjoyed the food. It is part of Slow Food’s presence at the Saturday market as well as a demonstration of the fruits of a school garden. We hope to do it again soon.

Charlie Headington


School Kids at the Market!

September 15, 2006

September 16, 7am-11am

Taste the bounty of the Greensboro Montessori School gardens as its students slice, prepare, and share their autumn harvest with friends of the market.

Look for chef Brian and the kids in the Tasting Booth at the Greensboro Farmer’s Curb Market, corner of Lindsay and Yanceyville, across from the old baseball stadium, from 7am-11am.

Support Slow Food, school kids and school gardens.


Wellness Policy Update

February 6, 2006

Wellness Policy Committee Meeting
(OPEN TO THE PUBLIC)
Thursday, February 9th, 2006
9 A.M.-10 A.M.
501 W. Washington Street
Greensboro, North Carolina
Cynthia Sevier’s Office
Second Floor (I will send room # )

For about 1 month Deb Bettini and I served on the Wellness Policy Committee for the Guilford County Schools. This first meeting was attended by 7 people with various backgrounds and the mood of the meeting was very upbeat and everyone was enthusiastic about making a change for our children.

Last week we were scheduled for our 2nd meeting on Thursday Feb. 2, 2006. On Tuesday 1/31/06 I received a call from one of the participates stating that Deb and I could not serve on the WP Committee(WPC) because we were not elected to the Health & Safety Board for the school. I was told that all meetings were open to the public and we could attend but not comment or vote! Deb on the other hand was told not to attend any of the meetings.

At 9 a.m. on Feb. 2, 2006 I showed up at the scheduled meeting only to find an empty, dark office. The meeting had been rescheduled. I only found this out through several phone calls to people on the WPC. There were no phone calls or emails sent to inform Deb and I of the change. There are currently 4 people that now make up the WPC. Dr. Routh from the school board sat in on the first meeting to address policy rules and procedure.

Here are the names of the people serving on the Health and Safety Board for Guilford Co. Schools (this information is being sent to me and I will provide proper titles.) I also apologize for any misspelled names.
** represent those who are currently serving on the WPC.

Terry Grier
Dot Kearns
Ruth MacKinze
Robert Strack
Joyce Wellborne
Glenn Willis
Lynn Beckford
Deana Hayes
Patty Kinade
Janet Mayer**
Marty Sykes
Rober williams
Bobin Berjeron-Nolan
Greg Jones
Robin Lane**
Terina Piccarillo** PTA Chair for Healthy and Safety
Dr. Quinlin
Lea Sheplar
Vernus Thompson
Beth Woody
Dr. Terrance Young
Cynthia Seiver**

Terinal Piccarillo is representing the school, the community and the parent that is required of the WP guidelines. According to Senior Food Policy Analyst, Madeleine Levin, the schools are not breaking any of the WPGuidelines.

When these 4 people finish the WP it will be posted on the Guilford Co. school website. The public will have 21 days to comment and then it will go back to the WPC for any changes, it will then be up for a second public reading. This is when the school would like to hear from YOU. I strongly feel that the community should have more involvement with the development of the WP before it is made public.

I will have more of this as the week progresses. I hope that any of you that can make the next meeting will attend!

Sincerely,
Donna Myers


Fast Action From Slow Foods

November 2, 2005

Last Friday I received my first issue of the Snail, one of the perks of being a member of the Slow Food Piedmont Triad Convivium. It could not have arrived at a better time. Located in the center of the magazine was a full page, black and white photo of a child looking straight at me. The opposite page began “YOU.” Me? I read more.

“Congress is requiring that every public school district in America form a Wellness Committee and adopt a Wellness Policy by June 30, 2006,” I had to read more.

“If you write the standards, you can ensure that children in America’s schools will eat the healthy foods they deserve. If you don’t write them, who will?” And now I am losing sleep.

It was on the Center for Ecoliteracy website that I learned about the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorizing Act 2004 that would require “local wellness policies designed and implemented at the local level, and authorize the Department of Agriculture to provide technical assistance, if requested by the school or school district, in implementing healthy school environments. The content of local wellness policies would be decided by local parents, teachers, administrators, school food service, school boards, and the public.”

On Monday morning I went to the Guilford County Schools to inquire about our own, local Wellness Committee and Wellness Policy and by Friday I had a clear understanding of where WE stand in the process of creating a better nutritional future for our children.

After speaking with Nancy Routh, School Board Member At-Large and head of Policy Development, she explained that at this time the Guilford County Schools have created two new policies concerning medication distribution and peanut allergies. These were state mandated and the schools have yet to create the Wellness Committee or the Wellness Policy that is required by the federal government. I have two children in the Guilford County school system and have not received any information on parental or public input on the Wellness Policy. During my conversation with Mrs. Routh she encouraged me to contact Robin Bergeron-Nolan, Curriculum Specialist, and volunteer for any committees that might be formed. After contacting Charlie Headington, President of the Slow Food Piedmont Triad, Charlie offered full support from our local convivium to support the Wellness Policy.

I was able to pick up a copy of the Wellness Policy requirements and guidelines that local schools will use to assist in this exciting endeavor. The Center for Ecoliteracy has also created guidelines that can be used to help meet the new requirements.

For years we have been reading, hearing and watching the rise in childhood obesity and the onset of adult related diseases in today’s youth. It was recently stated that the upcoming generation will be the first not to out live the last. My son brought home a book about dinosaurs last year titled, The Monsters Who Died, by Vicki Cobb. It was frightening to read,

“Dinosaur eggs also show the decline of dinosaurs. Eggs 70 million years old and older have thick shells. The shells from the last 5 million years got thinner and thinner. Dinosaurs were not as healthy and it showed in their shells. Their egg shell did not provide good protection. Many young dinosaurs never hatched. The poor health of the parent affected the young.”

This is a very crucial time for today’s youth and for generations to come. It is important for those of us who have been supporting our local agricultural resources, whole foods, and our cooking heritage to stand up and support the needs of today’s children.

The Slow Food Piedmont Triad Convivium will soon hold a meeting to address the Wellness Policy in our local schools. If you would like to receive more information and become an active participant in addressing the nutritional needs of our children, please send an email to epicourier@gmail.com. If you are reading this from elsewhere in the United States EpiCourier would love to hear what your local, public schools are doing in regards to the Wellness Policy.

Our children depend on US!