US (NY): Bolthouse Farms and The New York Foundling open learning garden in poorest congressional district in the nation

Celebrity chef Ellie Krieger teaches fourth graders at Haven Academy Charter School about herbs, vegetables, how to make healthy food choices. Bolthouse Farms CEO Jeff Dunn joined Bill Baccaglini, CEO of The New York Foundling, celebrity chef and nutritionist Ellie Krieger, Food Day campaign organizers and dozens of children to officially open a rooftop vegetable and herb learning garden recently installed at The New York Foundling's Haven Academy Charter School as part of a partnership celebrating Food Day 2012. The event served as a kick-off to the more than 4,000 events taking place throughout the country as part of Food Day.

Following remarks and a ceremonial ribbon cutting, Ellie Krieger, also a New York Times bestselling cookbook author, kicked off a cooking lesson on food, flavor and taste. She guided students through a healthy salad recipe, where they created their own dish, featuring three grains, three beans and a wide variety of vegetables in a multitude of colors, such as carrots and peppers, explaining that each color represented different antioxidants in the vegetables. She also focused on the benefits of whole grains, healthy oils and how to enhance flavor using herbs and citrus rather than relying on just salt.

"Changing the eating habits of a nation starts with our children," said Jeff Dunn, President and CEO of Bolthouse Farms, the largest carrot distributor in North America. "We must educate, excite and entice everyone to make better food choices, and Food Day is a phenomenal platform that unites us in this goal while raising critical awareness throughout the country. Today, we are dedicating a garden that will initiate change in this school, which will extend to local families and hopefully touch the entire community. We would like to thank the Foundling and Haven Academy for this wonderful opportunity." "Many of our Haven Academy families consist of parents who work long hours and live on a tight budget. Under these circumstances, healthy eating oftentimes gets put on the back burner. The learning garden is a hands-on, interactive, fun tool to teach our kids why it's important to include vegetables in their daily diet. We thank Food Day, Ms. Krieger and Bolthouse Farms for helping us with this project and giving our kids a skill-set that will last a lifetime," said Bill Baccaglini, President & CEO of The New York Foundling.

The rooftop garden will serve as an educational tool for children at Haven Academy. The New York Foundling, one of the City's oldest and largest child welfare agencies, developed the school to address the obstacles to educational achievement that plague children growing up in poor, underserved, urban communities and particularly those in the child welfare system. Haven Academy is located in the poorest Congressional district in the United States where healthy, nutritious ingredients are not always easy accessible. Herbs and vegetables from the garden will be harvested by students and used in cafeteria meals throughout the year. "Here at Haven Academy, we're connecting the children with the food they eat, the soil that sustains it and lessons about healthy eating that will last a lifetime," said Food Day national campaign director Lilia Smelkova. "This rooftop garden and outdoor educational space perfectly illustrates the aims and aspirations of Food Day, and we thank Bolthouse Farms, the New York Foundling, Haven Academy and Ellie Krieger for coming together today."

The goal of Food Day is to encourage Americans across the country to embrace healthy eating and sponsor or participate in activities surrounding healthy eating. In addition to large events in public spaces, Food Day encourages families to have healthful potluck dinners with friends and to use these gatherings as opportunities to talk informally about food and our nation's food system. For inspiration, will post a number of delicious recipes from well-known chefs and cookbook writers.


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