P.S. 7 Harvest Club and School Wellness Committee
Building Healthy Communities
January 13, 2020
Through its Healthy Neighborhoods Fund initiative, NYSHealth is supporting six communities across New York State to become healthier, more active places.
Although all the communities are working toward the common goal of improving the health of their residents, each community may face particular challenges. By offering responsive and time-sensitive technical assistance funding to grantees and their partners, NYSHealth can help them meet their goals. In 2020, NYSHealth awarded Edible Schoolyard NYC a grant to provide ongoing guidance and technical assistance to help expand food justice leadership opportunities at an East Harlem primary/middle school.
Under this grant, Edible Schoolyard will partner with Wellness in the Schools (WITS) to expand food justice leadership opportunities at P.S./M.S. 007 Samuel Stern (P.S. 7), a public school in East Harlem. Edible Schoolyard focuses on integrating hands-on gardening and cooking education into the school day, and WITS is a national nonprofit that works with local schools to provide nutrition education to students. Edible Schoolyard will organize Harvest Club, a weekly afterschool program for fifth through eighth graders. This program will engage students in gardening and cooking activities in Edible Schoolyard’s onsite gardens and kitchen classroom and will include family and community outreach activities, such as food industry field trips. The Harvest Club will help advance a well-rounded understanding of the food industry from seed to plate, with an emphasis on food justice and entrepreneurship. WITS will further cultivate P.S. 7 students’ leadership skills and food policy knowledge through the School Wellness Committee, the school’s existing staff-led committee. WITS will recruit students from the Harvest Club and student council to represent the student body on the committee, enabling those students to learn advocacy skills and directly impact the school’s food policies. Student members of the School Wellness Committee will also have the opportunity to take leadership roles in WITS’s seasonal cooking classes and monthly lunchroom tasting events. Edible Schoolyard and WITS’s programming at P.S. 7 will support students as they learn how to identify and enjoy healthier choices for themselves, their peers, and their families, cultivating a culture of wellness and a commitment to food justice that will permeate the wider community.