PS 244 in Queens—Nation’s First Vegetarian Public School
This recent story has been picked up by newspapers all across the country (See links below). The good news is that there is progress being made. The bad news is that we’re a very long way from getting cow’s milk and cheese off the so-called “vegetarian” menu.
Not only at PS 244 in Queens but also at the Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School in New London, CT, where I spoke to the entire 6th grade during the first week of April.
First — The Good News. The food at PS 244 in Queens
Next — The Bad News. Cow’s milk & cheese were invited to the party.
From the first article referenced below:
Public School 244 in Flushing is the first public school in the nation to serve all-vegetarian meals for breakfast and lunch, according to city education officials. A-rated PS 244 partnered with nonprofit New York Coalition for Healthy School Food to design recipes for appetizing plant-based grub.
Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott, who often crows about maintaining a fit lifestyle, said the launch of the vegetarian food-fest should be duplicated in schools across the city and country.
“I don’t eat fried foods. I don’t drink soda. I try not to have sweets too often,” said Walcott, who tested the veggie victuals. “And that’s what we want for our students … to make sure they eat healthy both at home and school.”
Yogurt in the smoothie? Meanwhile back at Bennie Dover Jackson Middle School in New London, CT. Earlier this week, the sixth grade teacher who sponsored my April presentations at the school (Ms. Suellen Hampton), invited me to join about one hundred of the 6th graders as they prepared and consumed some fairly healthy fruit and veggie smoothies.
I say “fairly” healthy because in addition to the kale, carrots and berries—each of the smoothies contained a hefty load of some not-so-healthy ingredients: added sugar and Nonfat Yogurt, shown at right. Apparently the food management team at the school would not participate in the preparation of any smoothies that didn’t contain dairy.
Good news outweighs the bad. Even though both PS 244 and Bennie Dover Jackson are both still serving dairy everyday to every student, progress is being made as students are learning that every meal doesn’t have to contain animal products. In the picture below, the students at Bennie Dover Jackson enjoyed their smoothies. About one third of them raised their hands when asked if they’d started eating more fruits and vegetables since attending my presentation during the first week of April.
Unfortunately, the last image shows what is the probably the most prominent picture in every public school cafeteria in America. I snapped this photo at Bennie Dover Jackson after the kids went back to class. It’s almost like the dairy industry OWNS our public schools.
Finally a message from your Dairy Industry
In addition to the source articles, I have included links below to several of my earlier blogs about dairy and school lunches.
- NY Daily News source article. School 244 in Flushing, Queens, becomes first public school in nation to serve only vegetarian meals
- CNN Source document. New York school goes all-vegetarian – CNN.com.
- Huffington Post source document. Public School 244 In Queens Adopts All-Vegetarian Menu, Becomes Nation’s First All-Vegetarian Public School
- Washington Examiner source document.
- Blog about my presentation to 6th graders. Speaking to 220 sixth-graders in New London, Connecticut
- Earlier blog about dairy. Are we finally beginning to win the war on dairy?
- Another blog about dairy. Mark Bittman getting much tougher on the dairy industry.
- School lunch blog. Federal guidelines & Michelle Obama—not getting it done
Handy 4-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from Amazon.com
- The movie that’s changing the lives of millions: Forks Over Knives DVD
- Healthy Eating, Healthy World, The “big picture” about food (our book)
- An essential scientific resource: The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell
- Dr. McDougall’s new book, The Starch Solution, with lots of great recipes.
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—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation