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Downtown's Peck Slip School Goes Vegetarian

By Irene Plagianos | February 9, 2015 8:33am
 Peck Slip School's Maggie Siena said that "kale salad was a huge hit" at her elementary school. The school, currently housed in Tweed Courthouse, seves an all-vegetarian menu.
Peck Slip School's Maggie Siena said that "kale salad was a huge hit" at her elementary school. The school, currently housed in Tweed Courthouse, seves an all-vegetarian menu.
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DNAinfo/Julie Shapiro

LOWER MANHATTAN — A Lower Manhattan public school has swapped chicken for chickpeas.

The Peck Slip School is the city’s second public school to serve an exclusively vegetarian menu, the school said Monday.

The elementary school — currently housed in Tweed Courthouse, the Department of Education’s headquarters, as its new permanent home is built in the South Street Seaport — just announced the meatless menu this week but said the school has been serving all-vegetarian fare since the fall of 2013.

“We decided to implement the vegetarian menu because of the health benefits of a diet including more legumes, vegetables and whole grains and our concerns about the environmental impact of meat production,” principal Maggie Siena said in a statement.

“As it turns out, the vegetarian dishes are pretty delicious, too — we are seeing more kids trying and liking chickpeas, brown rice and whole wheat pasta — kale salad was a huge hit.”

Peck Slip's PTA co-president Kerry McAleer said parents are "proud and excited" to be the city's second meatless public school.

"The parents of Peck Slip had a chance to taste the Kung Pao Tofu and Lentil Chili at a recent PTA meeting and the food was delicious and healthy," she said. "It's a wonderful opportunity to teach our children healthy eating habits."

The Peck Slip School, launched in 2012, now has kindergarten through second-graders, but will expand to a full K-5 when the school moves to the Seaport.

Two years ago, P.S. 244 in Flushing became the first public city school to go vegetarian.

P.S. 244 and Peck Slip are the first public schools in the country to stop serving meat, according to the Coalition for Healthy School Food, a nonprofit that worked with the school and DOE to implement the new menu.

“The vegetarian menu offers our students healthy and delicious options,” said Eric Goldstein, CEO of the DOE Office of School Support Services.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the Coalition for Healthy School Food to elevate school lunches at Peck Slip School and across the city, and ensure students get the nutritious foundation they need to learn.”