We’re excited to announce our March Educator of the Month, Kelly Laurent! A nutrition student and educator, she’s been teaching children in cooking, health, and gardening for over three years. Kelly thinks it’s amazing to see students come into her classes as novice chefs and leave as professionals. A moment of victory for her is when a picky eater tries a dish they’d normally shy away from. We love Kelly for her creative, engaging classes, dedication to her students, and excellent communication skills. She’s truly an invaluable member of our team!
We were lucky enough to have Kelly answer a few questions about herself for us.
Which ATS Classes do you teach/what ages?
I teach at the LAB middle school and third through fifth grade at PS 11 in Clinton Hill.
Briefly describe your background in food, cooking and/or teaching, and how did you get started doing this work?
My interest in nutrition and food advocacy started when I was in high school, when I joined a program in SUNY Downstate doing research for health disparities within New York City. I was moved by the inequalities we face in this diverse city. I also loved to cook, so I decided to meld my passion for health and food into a career. Since then, I have been in the industry for five years and have taught community nutrition and sustainability for three years. In addition to working with Allergic to Salad, I also serve as a youth ambassador for No Kid Hungry and work as a student researcher.
I love making ricotta cheese with my students. At home, I’m a big fan of making 5-ingredient oatmeal cookies. It’s a quick, filling snack with complex flavors yet simple ingredients!
In your opinion or experience, why is food education important?
Food education is important because it is the start of showing kids nutrition at an early age and preventing serious food-related illnesses. Teaching people how to cook, eat healthy and about food justice is not a job to me, it’s a passion. Combining food advocacy to help people gain access to fresh produce and decrease food waste is an important addition to teaching healthy eating.
Anything else to add?
I love being a part of community nutrition education!
Here, Kelly talks about why she loves making ricotta cheese with her classes!
You’re amazing, Kelly. Thanks for bringing so much passion to Allergic to Salad!
Be sure to check back soon for our April Educator of the Month. Until then, happy cooking!