the WELL campaign

Anna Dawson

 School Wellness Champion: anna dawson

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Retired farmer; retired Family & Consumer Science teacher; and retired food processor // Kinderhook (Hudson Valley)


WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE WHEN IT COMES TO SCHOOLS SUPPORTING CHILDREN’S HEALTH AND WELL-BEING? HOW DOES THIS BELIEF CONNECT TO YOUR CORE VALUES OR LIFE EXPERIENCES? HAS IT CHANGED OVER TIME - HOW AND WHY?

Beginning with school gardens in elementary school is great. The next step is to train middle school and high school teens to freeze and vacuum pack healthy meal components from locally grown non-meat foods for stir fry meals, soup kits, quick bread kits (ex. Pumpkin bread) plus Heat & Eat products such as soaked whole grain cereal and veggie burgers.

Cornell foods classes and my farming experiences focused a passion for reducing local food waste which I experienced selling at a farmers’ market. Farmers markets no longer work since young people are not being taught how to cook from scratch in schools.

WHY DO YOU BELIEVE THAT SCHOOL WELLNESS NEEDS TO BE A PRIORITY? WHY DOES IT MATTER TO YOU?

I have seen a body shape transformation since I retired in 1995 toward serious obesity of all ages. Learning how to create a healthy harvest of freezer meal kits in community kitchens is needed in order to support local farmers, decrease transportation distances, connect young people to the new unhealthy food reality and provide meal kits that teach people how to cook.

IS THE SCHOOL YOU WORK IN A “HEALTHY SCHOOL”? WHAT ARE SOME OF ITS SUCCESSES AND CHALLENGES?

At Ichabod Crane Central in Valatie, NY the high school Family & Consumer Science two classrooms are now study halls. Computer rooms are the rage.

DESCRIBE A CHALLENGE OR SUPPORTIVE EXPERIENCE (RELATED TO HEALTH AND WELL-BEING) THAT YOU HAVE SEEN A CHILD/CHILDREN ENCOUNTER WHILE IN SCHOOL.

In November 2018 the Am. Assoc. of Family & Consumer Sciences asked me to do a 60-slide power point presentation focused on my work titled “Farm to Community: Harvest Freezing Strategies for Community and School Kitchens”. Visit http://aafcs.adobeconnect.com/pjeca8ib8eep.

A food bank in Malone, NY transformed a room in their food bank facility into a room to freeze and vacuum pack local donated and prisoner grown foods.

IF YOU COULD TALK TO YOUR LEGISLATORS ABOUT SCHOOL WELLNESS WHAT WOULD YOU TELL THEM? WHAT WOULD YOU ASK THEM?

Encourage Cooperative Extension to train teens, retirees, school cafeteria workers and food pantry folks to freeze and vak-pak local fresh vegetables and fruits and freeze cooked dry beans and grains. They do not do this.