We encourage interested individuals, groups, organizations to contact our volunteer team to learn how to become a National Kale Day ambassador. The goal is to spread this community-based campaign across America, and we need everyone’s help!
New York Coalition for Healthy School Food (NYCHSF)
The New York Coalition for Healthy School Food (NYCHSF) introduces plant-based foods and nutrition education in schools to educate the whole school community. They’ve served kale smoothies (made with pineapple juice, kale, and frozen bananas) to thousands of kids in schools around New York State. More than 99% of kids love them!
They have large projects in New York City and Ithaca, NY, and work with other school districts as well. They provide curriculum in classrooms, teacher trainings, family dinner nights, cooks training for plant-based entrees, and more.
Our plant-based recipes have been distributed to 25,000 schools nationwide, and our Wellness Wakeup Call program is heard by more than 100,000 students every day. Visit their site for wonderful resources, like the top 6 suggestions for creative change in your school, vegan recipes that kids love, and much more. The Coalition for Healthy School Food is responsible for arranging for Kale to be served in all 1200 New York City cafeterias this year!
Bill Telepan, Chef/Owner Telepan & Telepan Local
Born and raised in New Jersey, Bill Telepan grew up in a family where they shared hearty meals sometimes made with vegetables from their garden. Upon graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Bill schooled at some of the world’s top kitchens. He apprenticed with the legendary Alain Chapel at his Three Michelin Star restaurant outside Lyons in France. Under Chapel, he honed his culinary skills, and learned the importance of retaining the integrity of fresh ingredients.
On his return to New York in the early 90′s, Bill worked with Daniel Boulud at Le Cirque and Gilbert Le Coze at Le Bernardin. Subsequently, he was hired by Alfred Portale at Gotham Bar & Grill, where he was Executive Sous Chef for four years. He moved on to become the Executive Chef at Ansonia. In 1998 Telepan joined JUdson Grill, earning Three Stars from The New York Times. He remained at JUdson until 2004. That same year in November, his cookbook, Inspired by Ingredients was published by Simon & Schuster. In 2005 Bill opened Telepan Restaurant on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, celebrating seasonal, fresh and local ingredients. Since its opening Telepan has received glowing reviews and a Michelin Star in 2014. Since 2008, he has been the Executive Chef of Wellness in the Schools (WITS), a non-profit organization dedicated to making school food healthy. As the first chef to join the WITS team, Bill has served as a leader of the WITS Cook for Kids program by developing nutritious school menus, training cafeteria workers and teaching culinary and nutrition concepts to students, parents and teachers. In 2009, Bill was honored with a selection to First Lady Michelle Obama’s Chefs Move to School task force and preliminary conferences.
In 2014 Telepan made his downtown debut with the opening of Telepan Local in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood. The name is a nod to both the traditional “go-to” spots that serve as the heart of each neighborhood, as well as Bill’s longtime dedication to locally grown ingredients. The menu at Telepan Local features casual, tapas-style American fare from an open kitchen, with a seasonal focus that has become the Chef’s signature. Bill currently lives on the Upper West Side with his wife and daughter.
Jason is the Farm to School Director for Garden City Harvest, a diverse position where he teaches kids (ages 3-18) about food, farming/gardening, and nutrition. Jason works with the largest community farm, the PEAS Farm, in the classroom with in the Farmer in the Classroom program, or in school gardens, which will help schools start and maintain as outdoor classrooms.
Each year their Farm to School program works with over 5000 students in Missoula. They have a very strong partnership with the Missoula County Public School district as well as FoodCorps. Over the past six years they have grown to having about 25+ educational field trips to the PEAS Farm to over 100 educational field trips a year, four summer camps per year, a once-a-month Farmer in the Classroom program for 25 2nd grade classrooms, and six school gardens they assist with. Jason also teaches a class as an adjunct instructor for the University of Montana called “Practicum in Sustainable Agriculture Education” each fall semester, teaching college students how to teaching younger kids about food, farming, and nutrition.
Brad Gruno is the Founder & CEO of the popular raw food company, Brad’s Raw Foods. Back in 2006, Brad was the typical American guy–overweight, high cholesterol, low energy, didn’t sleep well. Sound familiar? Then something remarkable happened. He was introduced to the documentary film “Eating,” which highlights the benefits of a plant-based diet. He immediately adopted a raw diet, lost 40 pounds and completely overhauled his health, discovering a youthful energy he hadn’t experienced since his 20s. Though he was completely invested in his new way of eating, he did miss traditional American snack food, so he began experimenting with raw chips made from fresh vegetables, sprouted flax seeds, fruit nuts, buckwheat groats and an array of spices.
This quest for that “familiar crunch” eventually led to the creation of Brad’s Raw Foods, and his product lines now include Brad’s Raw Chips, Brad’s Raw Leafy Kale, Brad’s Raw Onion Rings and Brad’s Raw 4 Paws. All of his products are dehydrated below 115 degrees, retaining healthy enzymes and nutrients, which aids digestion. They are all also certified organic, non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free and kosher. Though Brad’s job is to continue to oversee the success of Brad’s Raw Foods, he loves traveling around and connecting with people in order to “spread the kale.” Raw food (and especially kale!) completely changed Brad’s health and life, and his products and company’s mission inspire others to do the same.
Linda Shiue, MD
Linda Shiue is an internal medicine physician who believes that the best medicine is prevention. She practices at the Palo Alto Medical Clinic, California, where she is known as “that kale doctor,” and also teaches healthy cooking classes at local cooking schools.
She has written about food in international publications as well as on her blog, SpiceboxTravels.com. She received her undergraduate and medical degrees from Brown University, completed an internal medicine residency at UCSF, and has taken cooking classes at Le Cordon Bleu, Paris and the Culinary Institute of America.
Edward Christensen has spent 28 years in foods service, with the last 10 years as a supervisor for Missoula County Public Schools Food and Nutrition Programs where he performs operations, menu development and procurement for the 18-building K-12 District with a satellite food service operation. Edward is also a FoodCorps Site Supervisor and has championed local sourcing for school meal programs since 2006. MCPS Foodservice recently began growing Kale in its production garden behind the Central Kitchen to fortify its standardized recipes with “kale crumbles” as well as to continue offering “The Best Kale Chips on the Planet” — with an institutional cooking method that he personally developed over the course of several years.
When he isn’t in a Kitchen, you may often see him throwing down some bar-room stomp as the lead guitar player for several bands in Western Montana including “The Northern Lights (MT)”, and “Montana Standard Time”.
Vermont folk artist Bo Muller-Moore printed the first “Eat More Kale” T-shirt in 2001 in his Montpelier studio. Today, the distinctive logo is seen on shirts and stickers around the world spreading the message about kale. Coming to national attention in 2012 when Chick-fil-A sued him for trademark infringement of their “Eat more Chikin” slogan, he has become an emblem of small, local business and an “accidental activist”. Hear more about his story in his TEDx Talk.
Bo was born in Memphis, TN in 1972. He completed his BA in history at Samford University in Birmingham, AL. He lives in Vermont with his wife, two children, and adult foster son with autism.
Stephanie Pedersen, MS, CHHC
Stephanie Pedersen, is a holistic nutritionist. A speaker, radio host and author of more than 20 books, her latest title being Kale: The Complete Guide To The World’s most Powerful Superfoods (Sterling Publishing). Stephanie has a reputation for giving her clients the edge they need to get whatever they want from life. She does this by helping individuals to lose weight, manage food allergies and detoxify naturally using superfood and lifestyle changes.
Stephanie’s previous books include The 12-title Natural Care Library (DK Publishing), KISS Guide to Beauty (DK Publishing) and co-writer of Chia: The Complete Guide to the Ultimate Superfood Sterling Publishing). Stephanie studied health, wellness, natural foods and nutrition at Institute of Natural Gourmet, Institute of Integrative Nutrition and NYU.
Raised by a junk food addict mother who could not cook, Stephanie became intensely interested in the connection between whole foods and a person’s performance and well-being at a young age. Her commitment to enjoying a nutrient-dense diet deepened after 9/11; pregnant with her first son during the WTC attacks, Stephanie’s son was born months later with severely elevated heavy metal levels. Stephanie later learned this was due to the toxins she inhaled that day. To heal him—and herself—she dove deep into a regimen of alkalizing, detoxifying foods. Today, she writes and teaches about using foods to detox the body. She also shares her health and spiritual knowledge on her Saturday morning radio show, Your Big Life, on Universal Energy Radio.
Chef Anne Gallagher
A graduate of the Natural Gourmet Institute in New York City, Anne Gallagher is co-founder and coordinating chef of the nationally recognized coalition Plow to Plate. She is also in charge of the Youth Chefs Program, which has gained much popularity. They have had the pleasure of being invited to MGM Grand Hotel in Detroit to cook under some of the best chefs in the area, as well as appearing on the Kashi Sundance Channel on the web, Grains of Change, and featured in numerous newspaper articles.
Chef Anne has also had the honor of being part of our First Lady’s Chefs Move to Schools program where she attended the launch celebration on the White House lawn along with 500 other chefs. Since then, Anne has been working closely with the food service director of New Milford Schools, trying to integrate better and healthier foods into the lunch program. Besides being very active in the organic and local food community, Chef Anne has established a very successful catering business that promotes delicious and fresh seasonal cuisine. She is also a part of the Fresh Advantage Team founded by her colleague Marydale Debor. Chef Anne also teaches classes at the Silo Cooking School in New Milford, CT, Upstairs Kitchen in Chester, Ct. and Different Drummer’s Kitchen in Northampton, MA.
Tina Paymaster is a Certified Holistic Health & Lifestyle Coach living in New York City. Every day she helps women feel empowered and discover true happiness from within by teaching them how to love their bodies and feed their souls.
Experiencing her own emotional and physical struggles in her early twenties propelled Tina to embark on a journey of self-discovery. She learned how to heal her body naturally and move away from seeking happiness externally. Through this journey, Tina was able to elevate her self-awareness and sense of fulfillment; a message she loves sharing with her clients.
Tina’s passion to help others brought her to the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, where she received her health coaching certification. Her love for cooking, fitness and embracing each moment, encourages her clients to see the possibilities of living a whole and healthful lifestyle. Tina currently works with her clients through customized one-on-one wellness programs. To learn more about Tina’s work, check out her site and program options.
Vickie Velasquez and Larissa Galenes are co-founders of Vegetarian Zen, a podcast and website dedicated to providing a non-judgmental, educational and entertaining arena which vegetarians, vegans and the veg-curious may visit to find general information on vegetarianism/veganism, healthy vegetarian recipes, exercise motivation and tips for living a healthy lifestyle.
In February of 2013, after watching two disturbing and eye-opening films, Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead and Vegucated, the native Texans and life-partners made the decision to become vegetarians. It was a bit of a challenge at first, but one they accepted with happy hearts and open minds. As they adjusted to their new lifestyle and shared their decision with family, friends and coworkers, Vickie and Larissa discovered that many had questions about living a vegetarian lifestyle. Based on these questions and on their own personal need to educate themselves about how to live healthily as vegetarians, Vegetarian Zen was born.
At Vegetarian Zen we applaud, encourage and celebrate vegetarianism in any form, fashion or degree. When she’s not working on Vegetarian Zen, Vickie is a Business Analyst manager by day as well as a self described “productivity geek”. She is an accomplished public speaker and has led numerous training sessions for co-workers regarding productivity because she believes this habit opens doors to great things, like having the time to co-create Vegetarian Zen!
Founder of SkinnybyTara, Board Certified Holistic Health Coach, and Registered Yoga Instructor, Tara Milhem is an expert in her field. She is the author of The College Girl’s Guide to Skinny, available on Amazon, and has been published on over 20 different platforms for her cutting-edge knowledge in health and nutrition. Based on this knowledge, Tara created SkinnybyTara, an online community built to empower and inspire people to live their healthiest lives.
Tara’s passion for food stems from wanting to understand how to maximize the body’s physical potential. After extensive experimenting with different types of foods and diets, Tara discovered that no one way of eating works for everyone. Her philosophy, SkinnybyTara, focuses on eating for pleasure, health, and beauty. Just like no one pair of skinny jeans fits all, no one diet fits all either. Tara is also a Yoga Alliance Certified instructor and leads events in the New York City area. She now offers private and group yoga sessions, as well as nutritional coaching and inspirational guidance. To join the community or contact Tara, visit SkinnybyTara.
Meredith Chartier is the chef and owner of Bellamy Kitchen. While not a trained chef, Meredith boasts years of experience in a home kitchen. As a child, Meredith was always welcomed into the kitchen by her mother, aunt, and grandmother. She believes her love of cooking and entertaining began very young. At a young age, she realized the most flavorful foods were also the foods that are the healthiest for you! Creating nutritious and delicious meals is her passion.
During her former work as a teacher, she helped to instill this passion in her students, see her lesson plan in the Kale Hero Kit. In the winter of 2012, a dear friend gave Meredith an opportunity that would change her career path. Pastry Chef Nicole Juliano Peranick asked Meredith to create the savory portion of a “Sweet and Savory Soiree” planned for a client. Meredith identifies this night as a defining moment in her career and is incredibly grateful for Nikki’s help. Less than a year later, Meredith launched Bellamy Kitchen.
Image courtesy Roland