Karen Bender – Director

As an Educator, Sharing the Healing Power of Plants Became my Passion

My interest in nutrition, food, and health began early in my career as an early childhood educator/director and continued later as a speech-language pathologist for special needs children.  As an educator, I tried to inspire healthy meals and snacks for preschool children. While raising two daughters, I continually adapted our diets and looked for the healthiest options, which included cooking meals at home, belonging to a food cooperative, and receiving Community Supported Agriculture farm boxes.

Three and a half years ago, my husband and I had some health issues that inspired us to dig further into the research on the relationship between food and health. We discovered that our current eating habits were not enough to improve our health and knew we needed to strive for a healthier lifestyle. Our research led us to begin a whole food plant-based (WFPB) diet with remarkable results.

Three years ago I started attending Plant Based Nutrition Movement (PBNM) monthly meetings. The information and support from those meetings were so motivating and valuable, and now I hope to pass them on to others. I am currently one of the PBNM Cooking Coaches and have led some small cooking classes. I also completed the e-Cornell Plant Based Nutrition Certificate to add additional educational components to future classes and presentations.

I enjoy bike riding, nature travel, reading, family time, and of course cooking delicious plant-based meals.

I hope to bring to the board and the wider community my passion for this WFPB lifestyle while compassionately making a difference in people’s lives.