Sep 11

Labor of Love

Reflection can be a great opportunity to be nourished by our past efforts. That was my theme this Labor Day Weekend as I reflected upon what was a wonderful summer both personally and professionally. Every bit as much as the time spent with my family this summer, what stood out for me were the days I spent with the children from Camp Courant – the largest and oldest free day camp for city youth in the country.

Practicing yoga outside every morning.

For one week, the children were immersed in learning about yoga, nutrition and healthy living. And while I had expected at least some resistance of the unknown, judgment or even peer pressure to get in the way, just the opposite was true. Each child was open, receptive and literally soaked up the knowledge like a sponge! Don’t get me wrong — there were some pretty comical looks when I added raw kale to our beautiful pink smoothies! But in the end, not a drop of green smoothie was left after 6 full batches!

Smoothie making...a team effort!

That's a definite YUM on the berry and kale smoothies.

From green smoothies to our clean food farm-to-table lunch prepared 100% by the children, these youth will never forget the value of:

• Eating all of the colors of the rainbow

• Knowing how their food grows

• Eating foods that come from green plants and not cement plants

• Being empowered to cook with locally grown produce

I could write about this experience endlessly, but I think I’ll let these photos tell the story…

Chefs and students working side by side at Lincoln Culinary Institute to create our farm-to-table clean lunch!

Stirring the topping for peach crisp for 30 is no small task.

One of our Junior Leaders measuring spices for the rub.

A full bushel of corn with spicy rub and not an ear left in the end.

A lesson in vinaigrette.

Yummy black bean salad in the make.

Working on our knife skills.

The opportunity to share my passion for clean, locally grown food with this group was one for which I will forever be grateful. For that, I owe thanks to Camp Courant and Laura Magnussen, program director. Thanks also to Julie  Bidwell for taking these beautiful photos and to Camp Courant for allowing me to share them here with you.

That’s Laura Magnussen, Program Director, in the pink and white. Thank you Laura!

The incredible support from the outside community was overwhelming and heartwarming. Because of their incredible generosity, we significantly underspent our budget, allowing that money to expand our program beyond our original vision, and ensuring the programs success in years to come. My sincere thanks to:

Frontier Natural Products Co-op

Lincoln Culinary Institute

Rosedale Farms & Vineyard

Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.

Urban Oaks Organic Farm


Whole Foods Markets

Zoe Brand

Every child took home a Lincoln Culinary backpack filled with these generously donated gifts.

In the end, everyone clamored to fill their take-out containers with leftovers to share with their families.

It was an honor to work with this amazing group, and I am proud to be part of this incredible community creating healthy change.

Eat clean live well!



  1. Posted September 12, 2012 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    What a fantastic event Terry! Looks like you did a great job and had fun.

  2. Posted October 6, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    I am a pediatrician in College Station TX that focuses on kids from unhealthy home environments, and I have been pushing so hard to teach good nutrition in the 15 to 30 min that i have with them, but parents and kids both turn up their noses at my suggestions (like green smoothies). I am way too busy, but I wish so much that we could get something like this event going in my town – and every town! I am going to do my best to spread this idea in my area.

  3. Posted October 7, 2012 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Any way I can support your efforts, Patty, let me know! I’m convinced that the difference between teaching the kids what to eat (eating clean in theory) and actually handing it to them was the key. Wishing you much success with your efforts to spread the message!

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