Conners Emerson students were in a pickle this Food Revolution Day thanks to MDI Hospital and Chef Alex Klein of Havana. The hospital and local restaurant again partnered to bring increased food knowledge and food education to Island children on Friday, May 15. This year, Chef Klein led fifth and sixth graders at Conners Emerson in a few quick pickling techniques, while MDI Hospital Wellness Coordinator Kathy Mulligan led an outdoor activity session including hula hooping, potato sack races jump rope and more.
The evening of Food Revolution Day was dedicated to raising funds for the Greenhouse Project at Conners Emerson, spearheaded by sixth-grade teacher Steve Gabel-Richards. All proceeds from dinner service at Havana that evening were donated to the ongoing greenhouse project at Conners Emerson, as were additional funds donated by Mount Desert Island Hospital and local parents.
Gabel-Richards’ students are no strangers to food education— he and College of the Atlantic have been working on the greenhouse project and a Farm to School program for some time now. Last year, MDI Hospital and Havana joined together to raise $1300 for the project. This year, they hope to raise enough to help Gabel-Richards and COA complete the greenhouse.
Since last year, students have been able to prepare the stone pad for the greenhouse and work more closely with the College of the Atlantic on their Farm to School program, said Gabel-Richards. “Throughout the year, students have been keeping a food log and have been tasting new, healthy foods in class—everything from rutabaga to goat cheese. They have also done some work in class learning about food security and supporting local agriculture.”
“It’s so important to build food knowledge and awareness at school and at home,” said MDI Hospital President/CEO Art Blank. “We are very grateful to Steve Gabel-Richards and Conners Emerson for their efforts and to Michael Boland and Havana for partnering with us to continue to develop food education for our Island’s children.”
Established in 2011 by renowned chef Jamie Oliver, Food Revolution Day is an international day of action designed to promote food education for children. MDI Hospital began participating in the initiative in 2013, and joined with Havana in 2014 to bring a unique hands-on cooking class to Conners Emerson.