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Green Charter Schools
Are National Models

First Lady Wants to End Plague of Childhood Obesity

February 09, 2023

First Lady Michelle Obama announced Feb. 9, 2010, that she wants to end the American plague of childhood obesity in a single generation.

Green charter schools are uniquely positioned to lead the nation in providing models of all four pillars of the First Lady’s charge: more nutrition information, increased physical activity, easier access to healthy foods and personal responsibility to make good choices. At New Roots Charter School in Ithaca, NY, a Farm to School meals program “allows students to understand intimately the relationship between human communities and economies, ecological systems, and personal wellness.” A year-round agro-urban charter school ringed with vegetable gardens and orchards is moving forward in Madison, WI. Two charter schools in New Orleans had the flexibility to address nutrition and wellness in their foundational school designs and, as a result, became the first in the nation to formally replicate and affiliate with the work of pioneering cook, restaurateur, and food activist Alice Waters, whose Edible Schoolyard in Berkley, CA, uses food to nurture, educate and empower youth. Since helping to found the Edible Schoolyard in New Orleans (ESY NOLA), Waters’ Chez Panisse Foundation has developed a small, structured affiliate network that now includes an after school program, charter schools and a children’s museum. The organization Web site provides lessons and recipes, among other resources. Nutrition education and organic gardens at school are not without controversy. Also, a number of organizations have written an open letter to the First Lady urging her to modify her initiative and add an “outdoors in nature” component.Tell us what you think and what your green charter school is doing to end childhood obesity.


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