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NYer Of The Week: Harlem Seeds Leader Grows Healthy Appetites

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This week's New Yorker is giving those around her the tools to fight obesity by eating better. NY1's John Schiumo filed the following report, which was shot, written and edited by Rachel Smith.

Slicing, mixing, tasting and learning. It's all part of Stephanie Mack's hands on approach to healthy eating and good nutrition.

"That's really what draws people because all of us have a relationship with food whether it's good bad or indifferent," she says.

As the executive director of Harlem Seeds, Mack leads a coordinated effort to give people, especially children, a thorough understanding of food, from seed to table.

The group hosts free planting lessons at community gardens like one in the South Bronx, leads field trips to local farms, and holds cooking demonstrations.

"I tell people in our community that participate in our events or our workshops that it's always about being a work in progress and once you know the information at least you know you can now make change," says Mack.

Mack says her relationship with food is good thanks to her mother, Rosalind, who is a big part of Harlem Seeds. In fact, the group is a family affair. Her sister Michele is a co-founder and her mom, Chef Roz, does a lot of the cooking demos.

"This is fast food, it doesn't take that long," says Rosalind Francis.

"She is the brains behind what you eat, what you do, how you live so clearly she's always instilled that in us to make healthier choices," says Mack.

Corn salad and sauteed kale were on the menu at a recent demo, much of the local produce prepped by teens in the group. But Mack and her sister found kids aren't the only ones interested.

"Our focus was mainly on children when we first started but quickly we had to expand that because the parents were really involved and they said well where's our class or we're the ones that have to buy the groceries. So very quickly we started doing programs that allowed both children and their parents and families to be involved," says Michele Hatchette.

So, for planting the seed of healthy eating for the city's kids and their parents, Stephanie Mack is our New Yorker of the Week.

For More Information

For more information about Harlem Seeds, visit their website at harlemseeds.org.

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