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NEWS RELEASE October 12, 2004

Healthier Foods for School Kids: PCRM Announces the Golden Carrot Award Winners During National School Lunch Week, October 11-15

“Golden Carrot Awards” for Innovative Foodservice Professionals go to Berkeley, East Hampton (NY), Fairfax (VA), and Los Angeles

WASHINGTON—The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) announced today that foodservice directors in Berkeley (CA), East Hampton (NY), Fairfax (VA), and Los Angeles are the winners of the first-ever “Golden Carrot Awards” for innovation in school foodservice.

Karen Candito, nutrition services director for the Berkeley Unified School District, won the $1000 grand prize on the strength of Berkeley’s vegetarian lunch menu; organic gardens, farm-to-school programs and cooking and nutrition classes; salad and fruit bars; and a policy banning fried foods, sugary desserts and soda In addition, PCRM also will donate $2,500 to the Berkeley school district food program.

The $500 second prizes went to Beth Collins of the Ross School in East Hampton in recognition of the school’s daily vegan menu options, nutrition classes, dairy alternatives, and healthy gourmet foods; Penny McConnell of Fairfax County Public Schools for offering vegetarian options and her “Give Me Five, Colors That Jive” and “Energy Zone: nutrition programs; and Gloria Boccato of the Los Angeles Leadership Academy, for the extraordinary quality of her menus and her outreach and training programs for school parents.

The Golden Carrots go to foodservice professionals who approach child nutrition in an innovative way that encourages children to eat more healthfully. Awards are based on programs that feature low-fat meals; encourage kids to eat lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; provide vegetarian or vegan menu items; respect cultural diversity; offer non-dairy alternatives, and foster community partnerships.

“Berkeley Unified really impressed us,” says PCRM director of nutrition, Amy Joy Lanou, Ph.D. “Karen Candito and her staff have done an extraordinary job of providing Berkeley’s students with healthy, diverse menus with lots of vegetarian options, and of teaching kids about the importance of good nutrition.” Among Berkeley’s other innovations is the “International Market Place” in the middle schools, offering students healthy foods daily from a variety of different cultures and nations.

The winning schools range from public to posh to petite. Fairfax, Virginia, is the nation’s 14th largest public school district and serves more than 140,000 meals a day. The Ross School is a private academy in the Hamptons that boasts its own executive chef and whose menu has been studied by the Harvard School of Medicine and the National Centers for Disease Control. The LA Leadership Academy is a two-year-old charter school with fewer than 300 students in one of Los Angeles’ neediest districts.

The “Golden Carrots” will be awarded annually. Winners will be announced each October during National School Lunch Week. For more about this year’s Golden Carrot award winners, go to

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.

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Tara Failey

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