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What are We Feeding Our Children?

Where does our school food come from and how is it produced? To investigate some of these issues, Animal Welfare Approved sponsored a one-week, three-city tour for the UK Dinner Lady, Jeanette Orrey. Jeanette is credited with changing school food in the UK, and AWA sponsored this visit to promote cross cultural dialogue and share her experiences with people working to make change in several US school districts. Following two days in New York City, the tour continued south (via Amtrak), to Baltimore City Public Schools and Arlington (Virginia) Public Schools. (Pictured: Nancy Easton and Chef Bill Telepan of NYC nonprofit, Wellness in the Schools and Baltimore City Schools' Great Kids Farm Manager Greg Strella.)
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On Our Way To Baltimore!

We had a great visit yesterday with our friends at Queens County Farm Museum. Pictured is Amy Fischetti-Boncardo, Executive Director, Jeanette Orrey, UK Dinner Lady, Andrew Gunther, AWA Program Director and Michael Grady Robertson, Director of Agriculture for the Queens Farm. Our discussion focused on nutritious school food and ways we can work together to effect changes. The Farm hosts more than 250,000 school children annually who get the opportunity to see live farm animals and get an idea of where their food comes from. Joining us on this continuing journey were Chef Bill Telepan, Wellness in the Schools' Nancy Easton and AWA staffer Brigid Sweeney.
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AWA Welcomes UK Dinner Lady to US

Jeanette Orrey visits NYCAnimal Welfare Approved staff members Andrew Gunther, Beth Hauptle and Brigid Sweeney were thrilled to welcome Jeanette Orrey, the U.K. "Dinner Lady" on her first visit to the United States. On our first day of a three-city, week-long tour, we visited three public schools in the New York City System: PS 87, PS 84 and Fiorello Laguardia HS (the Fame school)! We were joined by our friend Bill Telepan, of Telepan restaurant of course, and Nancy Easton, both with Wellness in the Schools, a non-profit working to support healthy school food in NYC.
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AWA Hosts UK ‘Dinner Lady’ On Week-Long Tour To Three US Cities

Animal Welfare Approved, the nation’s leading certification label for family farmers raising their animals with high welfare standards, is hosting Jeanette Orrey, the United Kingdom’s famous “Dinner Lady” (that would be a lunch lady on this side of the pond) the week of January 11th. Orrey is a leader in the U.K.’s efforts to provide school lunches made of fresh, local organic food. She will be visiting with school officials, farmers and proponents of healthy school lunches in New York City, Baltimore, Maryland and Arlington, Virginia. Accompanying Orrey on her journey will be Animal Welfare Approved staff, Bill Telepan, chef/owner of Manhattan’s Telepan Restaurant, and Nancy Easton, a New York City teacher for 20 years. Telepan is a long-time Animal Welfare Approved supporter and a board member of Wellness in the Schools. Wellness in the Schools is a grassroots organization that promotes children's environmental health, nutrition and fitness within the New York City public schools. Easton co-founded Wellness in the Schools and serves on its board. The New York City school system serves approximately 1.1 million students.
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Putting Trust on the Menu

Whether restaurant fare at farm-to-fork eateries really is sourced from sustainable family farmers is the subject of a recent Washington Post article by food writer Jane Black. Chefs have long been some of the most committed supporters of farmers using sustainable, high-welfare practices. AWA farmers have forged strong relationships with dedicated chefs such as Andrea Reusing of Chapel Hill, NC, Manhattan’s Bill Telepan and Top Chef contestant Bryan Voltaggio. However, as the terms “sustainable,” “family farmer,” and “humane” become part of the marketing lexicon, the chances of a menu being greenwashed rises. Luckily, there is one simple step all restaurants highlighting their ties to farmers and sustainability can take to make sure patrons feel a sense of trust in the menu and the mission. They can be transparent. Much like the nutrition labels that now appear on packaged food, restaurants should spell out on their websites and menus what production practices they tolerate (raised in confinement? pesticide use?) and how they determine if a farm or supplier meets its standards.
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Savvy shoppers Take Note: Place Your Bets on Grassfed Beef. You’ll Come Away a Winner.

Not that we like to gloat, but…. Grassfed beef from two Animal Welfare Approved farmers has gone head-to-head with conventional beef in separate taste tests. The results are in and, well, to be modest, SMACKDOWN! This past summer, AWA supporter Chef Bill Telepan issued a challenge to Mark and Dr. Patricia Whisnant of American Grass Fed Beef—bring him some grassfed beef that he deemed worthy of using in his famous burger and he would make the switch from the beef his customers had come to love. And so, on a muggy New York City afternoon, a small crowd gathered to see the gloves come off as 100% grassfed took on heavyweight conventional grain-fed. In a stunning upset, Chef Bill declared the upstart 100% grassfed beef the winner, bestowing the crown of onion rings and French fries that top the famous Telepan burger on the Whisnant’s American Grass Fed Beef.
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Top Chef Contestant Bryan Voltaggio Endorses Animal Welfare Approved

Many people have become familiar with Bryan Voltaggio as one of the dynamic season six competitors on Bravo’s Top Chef—but did you also know he’s a committed supporter of humane farming and serves Animal Welfare Approved lamb at VOLT, his highly regarded Frederick, Maryland restaurant? Animal Welfare Approved recently joined AWA farmer Craig Rogers on his delivery run to VOLT (Craig supplies VOLT’s lamb) and had the opportunity to speak to Chef Bryan about the program and its farmers. “Chef Bryan was excited to meet with us and hear about our mission,” reports Beth Hauptle, Director of Marketing and Public Relations. “He is interested in offering more Animal Welfare Approved products on his menu and we were able to put him in touch with additional Animal Welfare Approved farmers.” Animal Welfare Approved is proud to have Chef Bryan among the chefs who enthusiastically support our program.
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Labor Day Eat In Spotlights Healthy School Lunches

FROM OUR FRIENDS AT SLOW FOOD Dear members, supporters and friends, On Labor Day, more than 20,000 people came together in all 50 states to tell Congress it's time to give kids real food at school. If you went to an Eat-In, we'd like to say thank you. And if you're one of the Slow Food Chapter Leaders and Eat-In Organizers who put incredible time and energy into the 300 Eat-Ins that took place nationwide, we'd like to shout thank you -- you made the day possible. The momentum helped us surpass our Labor Day petition goal - there are more than 20,000 signatures online, another 10,000 on paper, and many more still coming in. That's a huge show of support. When Congress starts debating the Child Nutrition Act this fall, we'll be able to take those signatures to legislators and make a strong case for reform.
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