Kids Eat Well at Harlem's Promise Academy

As part of their excellent series on school lunches, The New York Times today profiles Harlem's Promise Academy.

Schools across the country are experimenting with healthier food, but as one expert quoted by the Times points out, this may be the most aggressive effort anywhere. At the Promise Academy, kids who had never had a fresh peach or raspberry are suddenly being offered lunch that is thick with local zucchini and swiss chard. There is no soda, and snacks consist of fresh local fruit.

One child, named Ebony, is quoted saying this: "I was like, 'I don't want to eat that.' But I had to, because there was nothing else. Then it was like, 'This is good.'"

Thanks to an aggressive stance from school developer Geoffrey Canada, the culinary talents of chef Andrew Benson, and a food budget that is slightly inflated thanks to grants and donations, the effort seems to be paying off. The article includes anecdotes about children who didn't know what swiss chard was a year ago asking their parents to buy some to eat at home. There are even cooking classes for the whole family. One school parent, who is a diabetic, says she is thrilled her children are learning a new way to eat.

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awilda - May 14, 2006 7:44 PM

I heard about your school on 20/20 and let me tell you that i believe it's a great program i wish you have some programs like that i have twins in 8th and 9th grade and school is hard a program like yours would benefit so much they have high hopes for the future but with so much going on in school gangs , negative friends they really forget what i have teach them so much i'm so desperate for a program that could help them gain interest in school, but once again i give you a lot of credit for your program i hope that nyc school follow your step to a great future for our kids to be succesful and productive citizens .
congratulations and keep it up .

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