Our Eat UR Veggies student Culinary Leadership Team (now an elective class) has been busy all year learning the fundamentals of culinary education, food politics, and youth leadership. They are now turning all that training into action facilitating serious peer education with 9th grade students, spearheading a school-wide healthy recipe contest, and developing a youth-targeted healthy snack (read more about this in 18 Reasons Partnership in Culinary Education). Follow the student Culinary Leadership Team (and try their youth tested and approved recipes) at Teens on Greens as they whisk, saute, and roast to a healthier food system for everyone.
Archive for February, 2011
Our great friends at 18 Reasons have joined in partnership with Eat UR Veggies by extending their community of passionate food purveyors, creators, and movers-and-shakers to help us enrich the program’s educational and community focus. Last fall 18 Reasons Director Rosie Branson Gill sat down with us to sketch out activities that would really excite our students and give them real world experience and exposure to the sustainable food world.
With the 18 Reasons family we launched Goodies 4 Good, a mock business that will develop and sell a healthy, sustainable snack. The student Culinary Leadership class has been divided up into several departments including: product development, marketing, sales and finance, and working weekly in consultation with the likes of Alison Vercruysse (18 Rabbits), Calvin Tsay, (Bi-Rite Market CFO), and Naomi Starkman (Civil Eats). These students are gaining amazing insight into the critical balance necessary for a healthy financial bottom line and a healthy, sustainable product. Stay tuned for more information on Goodies 4 Good as it develops and how you can support our team by purchasing their snack product.
The second 18 Reasons initiative includes a 5-week intensive on culinary careers that brings into the classroom inspiring sustainable food professionals who will discuss and demonstrate their particular niche jobs. Slated to begin in late February, these classes will help students conceptualize the relationship between high school and their future careers, as well as build new personal relationships within the larger community.
We are so excited to work with the 18 Reasons community and especially want to thank Rosie and her board for helping us take youth leadership training to a new level!
I’m Vera, a 42 year old African American female that’s on an upward journey redesigning my life and lifestyle. I have run into my share of ups and downs, along with more bumps then I can count on the road that I’ve traveled. I must admit that I traveled down the same road expecting different results, but I now know there is a better way.
While incarcerated I was introduced to the Nextcourse Cooking Class with 5 Keys Charter school in 2006. The class caught my attention on many levels. I didn’t quite understand the significance of a healthy way of eating. This class showed me how different I felt after eating food prepared mostly with fruits and vegetables versus the very limited choices of food we were given to eat in custody. During my short stay there I learned that there’s a big difference in the way fresh and processed foods make me feel. This got me interested in the Nextcourse Soul Food Project and how I can incorporate healthy foods into my lifestyle as an African American. What I want to do is fight to reverse the effects of a lot of illnesses that are predestined in the African American community, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity which are some of the things we as a whole ethnic group face.
My goals for this internship are to be able to bring what I’ve learned to the community that’s predominantly African American, and that is with a healthy diet of fresh fruits and vegetables with just about every meal we can reverse the effects of these diseases before they start or get out of hand.
Every Monday afternoon Chef M of our Eat UR Veggies program is engaged in teaching a very special lesson to a very special group of students in Tanya Derkash’s class. Ms. Derkash’s students are severely disabled–most in wheelchairs, with specialized equipment and other resources needed for communication and movement. Each week Chef M plans a simple cooking lesson that focuses on tasting a seasonal fruit or vegetable in its most basic form. This week it might be varieties of apples and applesauce, and next week an exploration of citrus and its pungent flavor. As part of students’ independent living training, they might even venture to a local grocery store and purchase the produce for the weekly lesson.
In a past class Chef M was featuring pineapple and hoping to engage all of the students, particularly Maggie who was always so attentive to the lesson, but unable to swallow and actually try the food. Chef M was given permission to allow Maggie to simply taste the pineapple by touching the fruit to her tongue. It was her very first taste of any real food and her body awakened from the sensory experience.
Since that day the weekly tasting class has been a highlight for Maggie, and she has even developed quite a repertoire of flavors she likes to try. At a recent class on sweet potatoes, Maggie took charge of her taste buds by typing into her computer device, “I want cinnamon on mine.” No one knew she was such a fan of cinnamon! Maggie’s interaction with this class has opened up a whole new avenue of sensory exploration and human connection, making her world richer and more enjoyable for it.
Tonya Derkash is truly one of the many unsung heros of the public education system and we are honored to partner with her, and to have the opportunity to know her wonderful students and to give witness to the transformative power of food.