By Rochelle Davis, Founding Executive Director
Many warm and enthusiastic congratulations to Gary Cuneen and Darlene Austin, two friends of HSC who were recognized last week as winners of the 2008 Chicago Tribune Good Eating Award, a recognition I was honored to receive in 2007.
As founding executive director of Seven Generations Ahead, Gary Cuneen brings holistic food and nutrition education to schoolchildren around the Chicago region, helping kids understand where food comes from and how it grows. He’s also helped bring a farm-to-school focus to Oak Park school lunches, a program popular with kids and farmers alike. Gary works with HSC on our programs promoting wellness in Chicago-area schools. Like HSC, Seven Generations Ahead works at the point where wellness and environmental awareness intersect. In the award profile, Gary explains: "Culturally, [food] is a huge part of who we are. It impacts not only the natural environment but also our health so that it has this crossover capacity that touches people in so many ways."
In her role as a culinary teacher in the Chicago Public Schools Education to Careers program, Darlene Austin shows high school students the power of cooking and the potential it has to not only provide nourishment but also to shape their future career opportunities. Darlene brought her team of high school student chefs from Englewood High School to compete in the 2007 Cooking up Change Healthy Cooking Contest, where the team placed third in the dessert category with a tasty and healthy sweet potato cheesecake. Now a teacher at Harper High School, Darlene continues to nurture students’ potential while sharing her passion for good food.
Congratulations to Darlene and Gary, and many thanks for the work the work they are doing to shape children’s experiences with food at school.