Friday, October 28, 2011

Farmers Markets and Local Produce

Farmers markets are where most people go to seek out local foods. They are a great way to learn about what grows in your area and what's in season when. Weekly (or bi-weekly, or monthly) visits to a farmers market can be an easy, entertaining way to participate in your local food system and increase the amount of local foods you eat.

Here is a list of some items in season now:
Apples, Brussels sprouts, Cranberries, Leeks, Parsnips, Pears, Pumpkins, Shallots, Sweet potatoes, Turnips, Watercress, Winter squash

Harlem Markets: There are 2 markets located in Harlem
125th Street & Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. (163 W. 125th Street Plaza) , local specialties, crafts, organic food, fruits and vegetables. Hours are Mid July-November Tues., 8:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Madison Avenue at 112th Street (east side of street) in New York, NY. assortment of crafts, local specialties, fruits, organic food and vegetables. Hours are Mid July-November Sat. 8:00a.m.- 4:00 p.m.

For Additional Markets and More information about Locations, Hours, etc... Check out Grow NYC's website:

Happy Halloween!

Trick or Treat!!
With Halloween right around the corner, we thought we would share some healthy halloween tips. We know its difficult to make healthy choices when you are surrounded by plentiful amounts of sugar. Its seems during this time of year that not only are the ghosts and goblins trying to haunt us with boos! and screams, but also with candy candy CANDY!!

When kids get home from trick-or-treating, allow them to use their newly acquired candy as a sort of currency. First, have kids pile through and choose favorites and non-favorites. Then, make a wager with them that for every piece of candy they fork over they get a penny or nickel. Then kids can use their newly acquired money to buy something (non-food focused) at the store. With the candy that is left, be sure to immediately stash out of sight. Allow kids to choose one piece a day and preferably after a meal.

Not all candy is created equal. When you do indulge, try to pick out the lowest calorie and sugar options available.

Have a SAFE and HAPPY Halloween!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Celebrate Food Day!

Monday, October 24, 2011, New York, NY: Today a diverse range of organizations, public officials, and Americans from all walks of life are celebrating Food Day-a nationwide grassroots mobilization that encourages Americans to eat healthy, delicious food grown in a sustainable and humane way and to advocate for smarter food policies. Spearheaded by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Food Day is being observed in all 50 states with more than 2,000 events from coast to coast.

Join the movement yourself by choosing to make one positive change in your own diet today. Find out more about what it means to "eat real" food and WHY it is so important that we each join this movement, by visiting the Food Day website and reading about their 6 goals for how to transform the American diet, one plate and one person at a time. This day celebrates so many things and is connected to so many of the projects that our own work is touched by and connects with that we are thrilled to see it gain momentum. Also at their website you can find local events including several right here in New York City to attend.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

2011 Breast Cancer Walk

The HCZ A Cut Above Middle School Program participated in the 2011 Breast Cancer Walk on Sunday, October 16, 2011. To honor survivors and walk for a cure- 44 female students, 2 male students, 12 parents and 10 staff took a 4.3 mile walk through Central Park. Our students participate each month in Community Service and this was an extra special event. We were amongst the many walking to acknowledge Breast Cancer Awareness month. We provided keepsake bags for survivors which included a wrist band, pin and bookmark. The students held the beautiful HCZ ACA Banner which incorporated the Pink Ribbon. As the event was great our work doesn’t stop there as students will design picture frames dedicated to survivors of Breast Cancer and hand deliver them.

Pictures to come!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Chicago Marathon

On Oct 9th Dana Bobb (AD for HLI) ran the Chicago Marathon – her first ever completion of the 26.2-mile distance, finishing in 5:27:51. Her journey to this impressive milestone didn’t begin with training her body to keep putting one foot in front of the other until she reached the finish line. It started with a decision she made almost two years ago. She decided to make a change towards a healthier lifestyle. Congrats Dana on your hard work!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Yoga at the Harlem Armory!

Hello Harlem Children's Zone Community members we've got an exciting new opportunity happening in our community! Free Yoga on Thursdays from 7:00-8:30PM at the Harlem Armory. It's open to all adults at all levels. All you have to do is RSVP to the Healthy Living Initiative at

We hope to see you there!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

HCZ Works to "Educate Eaters" in the Garden, the Cafeteria and Beyond

The Educated Eaters Project ongoing projects include:

Food Service

Lead by Executive Chef Andrew Benson, the cafeteria has set a high standard for school breakfast and lunch. The cafeteria serves fresh made-from-scratch foods and a menu enjoyed by staff and students. All of the meat and dairy served at HCZ is hormone-free, and much of our produce is sourced from local farms in the New York Region. Our menu, which is on an 8-week cycle and focuses on exposing students and adults to a broad range of healthy meals from cuisines around the world, can be found online here:

The Wellness Blog
This blog provides our students, parents, teachers, community members and staff with the latest updates on the work being done by the Educated Eaters Project plus wellness news from around the Zone and resources for more food and nutrition education. It also works to help provide more background information about how we want to think, talk and relate to food as a community. We’ve developed an ongoing and evolving list of Frequently Asked Questions around food issues for different groups and put together some of the Internet’s best resources. Visit the blog or sign up for it’s updates to keep in touch with ongoing opportunities for nutrition education in the garden and cooking clubs, field trips to local farms, fitness classes at the Armory or just tips on making healthier lifestyle choices on small smart step at a time.

Teaching Gardens
Following the donation of our 5th Floor Terrace Garden at our main building, 35 E. 125th Street, in 2009 we have integrated gardening education into our day and after school programs. The garden program at HCZ includes indoor and outdoor growing systems that are all organic, some are traditional, some are aqua-ponic, and we’re always looking for ways to expand our outdoor classrooms. Our gardens provide a teaching tool that exposes children and adults to the process of growing their own food and introduces new foods in their freshest state.  Throughout the Harlem Children’s Zone there are a number of avid gardeners and community members who help support our efforts to connect people to their food sources through the hands-on activity of gardening. All of our Promise Academy sites have some kind of gardening program for the students to participate in throughout the school year. Several of our After School Programs also have their own gardens or collaborative relationships with local gardens.

Nutrition Education
Food and nutrition can be connected to all academic subject areas—from math to literacy to health to history. The Educated Eaters Project serves to support and integrate curriculum for Promise Academy students, after-school clubs, early childhood education, staff and community members to support nutrition awareness and healthy eating. Educated Eaters is also working to develop our own Zone-specific curriculum based on national standards and best practices. We are currently working with curriculums on the elementary, middle and high school levels and putting together our own professional development workshops for staff and parent education opportunities including cooking classes, farmers market field trips, and basic introductions to nutrition for adults.

The Fun & Fit Resource Center
This is an ongoing project in collaboration with the team behind the annual Fun & Fit in the City Event which we partner with each year to create a collection of books, movies, and teaching tools about food, nutrition and fitness. While we are still searching for the right space, the resources related to food are being housed in the kitchen office shared by Mia and Andrew and an inventory is accessible for anyone on staff who wants to borrow from the library. One day we hope to have a resource center that helps empower members of the community to take control of their own healthy relationship to food and fitness by giving them practical tools for learning how to garden, cook, be active, and navigate to the broader food system.

The Wellness Council
Originally created to guide the food service at Promise Academy, HCZ's Wellness Policy and the Wellness Council that works to help guide it, outlines our commitments to delivering a healthier nutrition environment. This work could not be done without a supportive and engaged staff.  As a community we pledge to:
  1. Protect the HCZ healthy nutrition environment.
  2. Keep “outside” food out of students’ hands and out of their view.
  3. Recognize that food should not be used as a reward or punishment.

Key Collaborations
Educated Eaters realizes how crucial it is to create a web of support for the work we’re doing with key stakeholders throughout the Zone and on the city, state and national level. We works with program directors around HCZ from Early Childhood to Elementary and High School to After School Programs and we’ve developed relationships with other groups and organizations working to support positive change in the arena of childhood food service throughout New York City, identified farms in our region that have educational programs, and reached out to the leaders in school lunch reform around the nation from Alice Water’s Edible Schoolyards to Let’s Move’s Chefs Move To School to Will Allen at Growing Power. These are our models, our peers, and our inspiration.

We have conducted two surveys for pre-assessment and this spring will conduct a post-assessment evaluation, one of the surveys was designed for staff members and one was designed for High School students. Educated Eaters also conducts nutrition surveys and community-wide healthy eating awareness campaigns to create a healthy nutrition environment for children and adults throughout HCZ.

In conjunction with the garden and the cafeteria, Educated Eaters teaches students about the nature's recycling systems through vermicomposting, composting and teaching students the science behind a sustainable system. Because we believe food education is connected to environmental education we are striving to create a program that is sustainable and which can be run by any capable staff with the tools that we are developing and the projects we are putting into place.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fun and Fit in the City Oct 1, 2011

A big Thank You to everyone that came out to enjoy some great food, learn more about healthy habits, get your bodies moving and just share in the fun at our 3rd Annual Fun and Fit in the City Event! This year the event was hosted at the Armory and it was beautiful--with celebrity chef demos, information for families from fitness, nutrition and farming experts, chances to get moving doing Zumba, Yoga, Trikes, Tennis, Gymnastics, and much more.

The event keeps on getting bigger and better every year! A special thank you to The Food Network New York City Wine and Food Festival and Target for bringing this event to Harlem. To all our friends from Florida including Lee, Ashley and Alex and everyone else thank you for bringing the celebrity chefs to help our community continue to tackle positive transformation through fun food and fitness. You do a spectacular job year after year. Thank you to the HLI team for all of your hard work throughout this event. You guys rocked it!

We heard some great lessons from our celebrity Chef including Rocco, Marcus, Melissa and Andrew that we'll recap here over the next few weeks, but after his demo with Melissa D'Arabian,several of you requested the recipe from HCZ's own Executive Chef Andrew Benson's Stovetop Crumble.  So here it is as promised:

Stove Top Crumble
Serves 4

1 tbl unsalted Butter
1 lb apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/8s
¼ cup sugar in the raw
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp vanilla extract
Pinch of table salt

2 cups crunchy, lightly sweetened granola (almonds, dried fruit, etc..)
1 tbl maple syrup

1.Melt butter in a 10” skillet over medium high heat. When the butter is melted, add the apples, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla, and salt. Mix thoroughly until well blended. Continue to cooking over medium high heat, until the sugar is melted and the fruit just begins to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Cover the skillet with a tight fitting lid and reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for approximately 10 minutes longer. While the apples are cooking, mix the granola and the maple syrup together in a bowl and set aside. After 10 minutes of cooking remove the lids and spread the granola mixture over the top of the apples. Cook for an additional 2 minutes uncovered.

2.Serve the crumble straight from the skillet hot, warm or at room temperature. Accompany with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream, if desired.

Recipe by Andrew Benson