Congratulations to the Active Learning Elementary School in Queens, NY for becoming the first public school in our nation (that we know of) to move to an all-vegetarian menu!* The school, which has gone from 3 days of vegetarian meals, to 4 days and now all 5, works closely with the city’s education department food program to ensure that all menu items meet US standards, and has officially been all-vegetarian since January. Instead of chicken fingers and meatballs, students say their favorite foods are black bean quesadillas, rice and beans, roasted chickpeas, vegetarian chilli, falafel and even tofu with Chinese noodles. School principal, Bob Groff says “We decided on a vision where health and nutrition would be a part of educating the whole child.” Student, Nick Lin told CNN reporter that “When you’re healthy, you can do better of tests and you can fight more diseases.” Apparently, the learning really is going beyond the classroom. My hats off to Principal Groff and his staff, including the chef, who is a school parent that was hired to develop the menu. Her recipe for “Malini’s Curry Chickpeas” was used offered up as an option throughout the entire city’s school system on Earth Day.
*Students who choose to bring lunch to school can bring whatever they want, but all food made in the cafeteria is vegetarian.