Nourish New Canaan

Pro Bono Project
The most valuable gift you can give your family is  a good example to follow.  That's why Nourish New Canaan is dedicated to making it easier for busy families to choose a healthy lifestyle.  
We are fortunate to live in a community of people whose generosity with their time and spirit is exceeded only by the breadth of their talent and expertise.  Interested?  Join the Nourish New Canaan email distribution list or subscribe to the blog.  Together, we can significantly improve the health of our children - and the community at large.  

Here are the changes that have taken place as a result of Nourish New Canaan's efforts:
Development of a Wellness Policy for New Canaan Public Schools as well as a Standing Wellness Committee
Superintendent David Abbey and the Board of Education created a wellness policy committee, in which we drafted a policy after researching other policies as well as nutrition and fitness standards.  The policy is designed to make an impact while leaving room to evolve over time.  Currently, Fitnessgrams are being launched to help educate families about what it means to be healthy and provide strategies for improvement.  Read about the latest wellness developments on my local media coverage page.

Raising awareness about the connection between nutrition, health and behavior - The Young Women's League, under the leadership of president Kelly Daniel, has made community health a priority.   With the support of a "dream team" of community leaders, director of financial development and marketing Susan Eng applied for a grant to make policy and environmental changes that will improve the health of children in New Canaan.   Tylor Taylor of The Summer House suggested a Forest Street Farmer's Market and, with the support of New Canaan Market Master Alexis Gazy, New Canaan tried hosting a farmer's market on Wednesdays and Saturdays.   Mike Lagas and Mary Kolek co-chaired the wellness policy committee, which drafted the first New Canaan Public Schools Wellness Policy.  The Board of Education unanimously voted in favor of this policy at the recent meeting.

Improving school food  - I nominated New Canaan Public Schools' food services director Bruce Gluck for a scholarship to the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, which he earned in his own right.    Meanwhile, he has eliminated processed food from school lunch and raised the quality standard for all of his vendors.  Currently, Mr. Gluck is working with farms to find local sources for produce.  Students now enjoy homemade soup stocks, whole grain pizza featuring fresh mozzarella, homemade veggie burgers and chicken nuggets made from fresh chicken breasts with whole wheat breadcrumbs.  The communication is more open and students will have the opportunity to try new foods before they are introduced on the menu.  

Developing Edible Schoolyards - Laura Heckman of the New Canaan Nature Center announced plans to start a community garden.   A Drumming for the Earth event by Pryority Fitness contributed funds to  support the development of the garden.  Rector Peter Walsh of St. Marks Church and his congregation planted a vegetable garden to provide fresh produce to the New Canaan Food Pantry.  This effort is being supported by local Cub Scouts and other community organizations.   New Canaan Country School is also planting a garden to supply fresh produce to the school and help teach students.  It is my hope that the wellness policy committee will support the creation of Edible Schoolyards, which could be used for hands-on math, science, health, nutrition and special education learning.

Farm to Table Initiatives - Nourish New Canaan has taken an active role in promoting local events, lobbying the Board of Education regarding the creation of  a wellness policy and brainstorming with the Board of Selectmen the best way to support both the New Canaan Farmers Market and downtown businesses.  These efforts have helped save the New Canaan Farmers Market, convinced local restaurants to incorporate Farmers Market specials that use locally grown produce and educated the local community about the impact of nutrition on health.