Ann Cooper, the “Renegade Lunch Lady,” will serve as the keynote speaker at this year’s UW–Platteville Early Childhood Conference.
The event, sponsored by the UW–Platteville Continuing Education Department, will be held at Ullsvik Hall Saturday, March 9 from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
This year’s theme is “Food, Fitness, and Fun! — Celebrating Health and Wellness in Early Childhood.”
Cooper’s keynote address, “Changing the Way We Feed Our Kids,” will be held from 8:15 to 9:30 a.m.
Cooper is an author, chef, educator and an advocate for better food for all children. She is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America and has been a chef for more than 30 years, including positions with Holland America Cruises, Radisson Hotels and Telluride Ski Resort as well as serving as executive chef at the Putney Inn in Vermont.
Cooper is the author of four books: Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children (2006), In Mother’s Kitchen: Celebrated Women Chefs Share Beloved Family Recipes (2005), Bitter Harvest: A Chef’s Perspective on the Hidden Dangers in the Foods We Eat and What You Can do About It (2000) and A Woman’s Place is in the Kitchen: The Evolution of Women Chefs (1998).
Cooper has earned several awards, was selected as a Kellogg Food and Society Policy Fellow and was awarded an honorary doctorate from State University of New York–Cobleskill for her work on sustainable agriculture.
She is a partner with Lunch Lessons LLC, director of Nutrition Services at the Boulder Valley School District, and founder of the Food Family Planning Foundation: The Lunch Box, Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools.
New this year at the conference is the free family zumbatomic class starting at 2 p.m. Zumbatomic is a high-energy fitness class that makes getting fit a fun family experience. Families can also attend the wellness and book fair with more than 20 vendors offering a variety of books, toys and other products for early childhood learning.
The conference features 33 workshops focusing on creating healthy foods, active learning, the outdoor learning environment and how to make healthy, nurturing environments for young children. Registered attendees will choose three of these workshops to attend throughout the day.
For more information and to register for the conference visit www.uwplatt.edu/cont_ed/.