Food for Thought: Party to the Max

As can be seen in today's edition of Tattle, the controversy over the crap kids are being fed as school lunches continues to rage. Meanwhile, the USDA just released its latest dietary guidelines, pushing more strongly than ever the concept of basing our eating around plant-based foods. And a bunch of recording artists have been working with local record producers, and with some success, to tie the two together.

Back in October I mentioned a CD called "Healthy Food for Thought: Good Enough to Eat" that was put together by a Philly-area team and features pro-bono contributions from people ranging from Julian Lennon, Moby and Sweet Honey in the Rock to local folks such as Gene Shay, Kathy O'Connell and yours truly. The point of the album was to have fun exploring healthy plant-based food options for kids, with the proceeds goingn to the New York Coalition for Healthy School Food.

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So is the album any good? Well, on Sunday we'll see if it's named Best Spoken Word Album for Children, as it's been nominated for a Grammy. (Could be a tough battle, considering "Healthy Food..." is up against sentimental favorite Anne Frank among others.) To celebrate the nomination and the general release of the CD, a party was held at the end of January in the studio of the artist who contibuted the cover, a fellow by the name of Peter Max.

Earth to Philly was in attendance at this event, and though we didn't get a chance to say more than "Hi, love your work" to Mr. Max we did meet plenty of people with a commitment to childrens' nutrition and got to sample some great plant-based food from NYC vendors. (As it was the day before Vegan Pizza Day, I was pleased to chat with the owners of "Slice: The Perfect Food" about their delicious and creative vegan pizzas.) In addition to the riotously colorful paintings and posters all over the walls, there was musical entertainment by many of the artists including Tom Chapin.

The music was festive and the general ambience pretty loud, so it wasn't until we emerged from the party that I was able to get some listenable audio from Paula Lizzi and Kevin Mackie, two of the masterminds of the album. I also wound up getting some sound bites (hey, a title for the next CD?) from Amie Hamlin, Executive Director of the New York Coalition for Healthy School Food, on how the whole thing turned out. Check out this five-minute podcast (MP3, 4 MB) to feel as if you're - well, not at the party per se, but on the sidewalk right outside, right afterward!

Earth to Philly wishes good luck to the producers with the Grammys (Feb. 13), and thanks to everyone who pitched in to get the word out about healthy school food.

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