Meeting held to discuss idea for vegan school in Rochester

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Rochester, N.Y. (WHAM) - A growing trend may become the foundation for a new school in Rochester.

A meeting was held Sunday to discuss an idea for a vegan school called the Rochester River School, which would be among the first of its kind in the nation.

Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal products.

"We are promoting a vegan diet and ethic because we think it's the most sustainable, we think it's the healthiest and we think it's the best for animals," said Joel Helfrich, co-founder of the Rochester River School. "So if it's simply five or ten meals out of the week that these students get to eat a healthy, plant-based diet then we're going to promote that and try to push that forward."

According to the Rochester River School website, the school "is modeled after both the Common Ground Charter School in Connecticut, which runs a school, farm, and environmental education center, and the Urban Assembly Harbor School in New York City. Like the Harbor School, we are attempting to create the best place-based, ecosystem-centered school in the country."

The Rochester River School would promote learning through nature. The hope is to start with kindergarten through sixth grade, then add additional grades each year.

The school would be a public charter school; it is unknown how it would relate to the Rochester City School District, in terms of funding and a student body. The application to found the school has not yet been submitted to the state.

Those involved in the process hope to open the school by 2018.

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