Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Kendall College's Hedeker Joins Chicago Lights Urban Farm’s Board

Kendall College is pleased to announce that Heidi Hedeker, MA/MSW, CEPC, a baking & pastry instructor and assistant professor in the School of Culinary Arts, has joined the advisory board of Chicago Lights Urban Farm in Chicago. Hedeker, who has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Chicago, has worked with Urban Farm since 2009 to develop and deliver educational programming for families in the Cabrini-Green neighborhood as well as students enrolled in nearby schools.

Chicago Lights Urban Farm empowers youth and residents in the neighborhood to have access to affordable, organic produce and nutrition education as well as increased economic opportunities through workforce training and microenterprise development. The farm helps families learn about healthy cooking, and provides programming for children and youth to learn about urban agriculture.

“Urban Farm represents a vibrant community effort that gives children and their families a true appreciation of where foods come from, as well as the positive effects of seasonal, fresh, naturally produced foods on growing bodies—and the environment,” Hedeker says. "This project has really validated the role of small metropolitan farms, and I am glad to be able to teach children how to value themselves and gain independence as they work to transform a city lot into their own corner grocery store."

Hedeker’s contribution to Urban Farm and its educational programs includes assistance from students enrolled in Kendall’s School of Culinary Arts’ Nutrition Club, who do nutritional analysis of the recipes. Hedeker teaches participants at the Farm about the use and benefits of organic, locally grown produce in cooking. Through her relationship with Urban Farm, she has also “adopted” Edward Jenner Elementary Academy of the Arts and ChicagoQuest, a new Chicago International Charter School, as part of the Chefs Move to Schools initiative and First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move!, a program focused on solving the problem of childhood obesity within a generation. Hedeker works with the schools’ teachers, parents, nutritionists and administrators to help educate children and show that nutrition can be fun.

“Chef Hedeker’s commitment to serving the community sets a powerful example for our students,” says Renee Zonka, RD, CEC, CHE, dean of the Kendall College School of Culinary Arts. “Her engagement with Urban Farm furthers Kendall’s commitment to teaching responsible sustainability and sound nutrition principles. Her real-life application of melding both concepts assists Kendall College in generating socially and environmentally responsible professionals while contributing to the vibrancy of the community.”

For more information on Chicago Lights Urban Farm, its programs and volunteer opportunities, visit For more information on the Chefs Move to School initiative, visit