Yesterday we invited our Chefs Move to Schools students from neighboring Phillis Wheatley Elementary School to the fall season opener of Roots in the City Farmers Market in Overtown. They took a tour of what’s growing at the urban farm like eggplant, peanuts, and mustard greens, and also had an opportunity to serve from the Michael’s Genuine food cart their entry into the USDA’s Recipe for Healthy Kids Challenge.
Miami-Dade Public Schools Department of Food & Nutrition administrators Penny Parham, Carol Chong, and Susan Rothstein came by the market to taste it and were so impressed with fourth grader Gerald Johnson Jr.’s Grilled Rosemary Chicken & Chopped Garden Vegetable Salad, the recipe he co-developed with chef Michael, that they’re going to try to place on cafeteria menus system-wide. Carol and Susan were also able to set up a Monday meeting with Margie Pikarsky of Bee Heaven Farm, Teena Borek of Teena’s Pride Farm, and others to discuss ways to expand the sourcing of Homestead produce into school cafeteria lunch programs.
It was an incredible day of huge wins for our kids and their health thanks to their teachers and administrators at Phillis Wheatley, the intrepid chef Michel Nischan and his food desert-shellacking Wholesome Wave Foundation, the team at Roots in the City led by Dr. Marvin Dunn and Maggi Pons, and our Miami-Dade Public School champions in the Food & Nutrition Department. The field trip would also not have been possible without help from my Miami chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier who came to the table with last minute funding to bus the students to the market grounds. Michel’s right hand Cristina Sandolo is meeting today to discuss the success of the upcoming season with Frances Penha of Human Services Coalition, the local non-profit generously working the Electronic Benefits Transfer machine to make Wholesome Wave’s double value coupon program effectively possible. Cal Soto volunteers his time each Wednesday; it’s inspiring. Ali Lauria and J.P. Alvarez did a bang-up job representing the restaurant with the food cart, flawlessly executed.
You can read more about the market re-launch on the front page of the Miami Herald’s Local & State section today and watch the segment Channel 4’s Lisa Petrillo did here. Photos documenting the event can be found in our Flickr set here.
This isn’t the first time we’ve been able to make healthy recipes fun for our students. As promised, our intern Renata Herminio used the skills she’s cultivating as an art direction student at Miami Ad School to produce a video of Michael’s Thanksgiving visit to Phillis Wheatley. You can find the pumpkin stuffing recipe they gobbled up posted here and view the clip below.
See you at the market next Wednesday!