New York Coalition for Healthy School Food

April 14, 2009  • 

Formed in 2004, the New York Coalition for Healthy School Food (NYCHSF) is a nonprofit organization that works to improve the health and well-being of New York’s students statewide by advocating for healthy plant-based foods (including local and organic where possible), farm-to-school programs, the elimination of unhealthy competitive foods in all areas of the school (not just the cafeteria), comprehensive nutrition policy and education to create food- and health-literate students.

The organization believes that healthy foods and exercise are both important lifestyle choices that go hand in hand to make a healthy person with a strong mind, strong body and strong spirit. NYCHSF focuses on the “healthy foods” aspect of the equation to bring positive change to schools by encouraging schools to apply nutrition standards to meals, snack foods, vending machine items, school stores, snack bars at school events and fundraisers as well as to not use unhealthy food as rewards nor exercise for punishment.

Their wide variety of programs and projects include:

FLI Fantastic Food Program in Harlem – Their largest project undertaken to date, this project is with the Future Leaders Institute K-8 charter school in Harlem and includes providing plant-based entrée options for lunch; nutrition education and Family Dinner Night, where all members living in the student’s household are invited to the school for a free dinner, a cooking demo and a nutrition lesson.

Healthy School Food Hotline – This resource hotline is available for anyone who is involved with schools, including superintendents, board members, principals, teachers, physical education directors, parents and students.

Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Snack Program in Ithaca (NYCHSF FFVSP) – Patterned after a federal program with the same name, NYCHSF is working with the Ithaca City School District to provide fresh fruit and vegetables as snacks in the classrooms at Beverly J. Martin elementary school by getting local businesses and foundations to sponsor classrooms to generate funding to pay for produce food preparation.

Wellness Wakeup Call – A signature program, “Wellness Wakeup Call” helps schools to meet their nutrition education goals as mandated by the federal wellness policy requirement. Free to schools in New York State, the program consists of easy-to-digest sound-bites written by three registered dietitians that are read during the morning announcements each day in school. The program is available in K-5 and 6-12 versions and can also be printed out as a one page, double-sided newsletter with a healthy recipe on back.

Healthy Foods + Exercise = Better Health | Better Grades | Better Behavior – visit the New York Coalition for Healthy School Food’s website to learn more about their programs and be a part of the equation!