Published April 29, 2012
Blogroll , Projects
Nextcourse has launched a new partnership utilizing our food education experience working with special populations to provide intensive nutrition and cooking skills training to mentally ill adults residing in San Francisco’s SRO housing.
Alleviating Antipsychotic Induced Metabolic Syndrome (AAIMS) is a new project in partnership with the Housing and Urban Health Clinic that is specifically for clinic patients who are: (1) Living with mental illness requiring treatment with an atypical antipsychotic medication, and (2) Living in a supportive housing site
The project’s goal is to lessen the risk factors associated with taking these medications that often lead to heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Participants learn how to eat healthier with the fresh foods that are readily available through food pantries and community kitchens, and to expand their food shopping or acquisition to farmers’ markets and community gardens. Group meetings include nutrition information, delicious healthy food tastings and snacks, and a weekly meal prepared together. Participants learn basic cooking techniques and recipes for use with a microwave, rice cooker, electric skillet and other SRO-approved equipment. The project’s funding allows us to supply participants with equipment as needed.
AAIMS participants recently visited the Free Farm to learn about their farm stand and enjoy lunch.
The group also focuses on increasing exercise to improve fitness and health and helping participants better understand the connections between their medication, diet, exercise, and their health. They feel empowered with both the information and the confidence to make healthy food choices, be more active, and become advocates for their own health. The pilot group of 6 participants started in late January and will run for approximately 14 weeks, and consist of 20 sessions.
Published April 29, 2012
Blogroll , Projects , Soul Food
Our Soul Food project has been at the forefront of helping ex-offender women adopt healthy eating habits as part of their overall rehabilitation plan. Housed at the Women’s Resource Center, a critical strategy in this effort has been the training and leadership of participating women who have become project interns. For all of these women, economic stability is of paramount concern and the source of hope that their lives can be improved, that they can recover from substance abuse and past traumas, regain custody of their young children, and secure adequate housing. For these women economic stability stems from meaningful employment that ensures a living wage. It’s this vision that inspired us to launch a strategic planning effort to provide a roadmap that can help us accomplish this goal.
Together with the WRC partnership and others, we will ask the question, “How can we offer hope for a better future to women released from jail and prison?” Using this strengths-based approach we want to inspire ex-offender women with meaningful employment that provides a living wage to support themselves and their families, and lights a clear pathway for a better future. Over 100 women each month seek out services at the WRC, with an estimated 90% who are unemployed. The timing is critical to intervene in the women’s lives with integrated, gender-specific therapeutic services, vocational training and education.
We are also coordinating this new programming vision with the WRC’s physical space, including a kitchen upgrade that will allow our Soul Food project to take on a larger vocational role. Ultimately, the WRC facility will accommodate vocational training space, educational classrooms, and be a visually inviting and safe space that will be a model for the county.
Most days the fragrant aromas wafting from Mission High’s cafeteria are not the preparation of the school’s lunch, but actually our culinary leadership students in action teaching their Eat UR Veggies lessons to fellow students. These classes which began in January are the culmination of many months of training in the kitchen, the garden, as well as the classroom to challenge their peers to begin to think about what they eat – and equally important - why they eat, and to inspire them to get into the kitchen and start cooking! One of our students shares his reflections on how the class has shaped him.
Each and every one of our young leaders is passionate about food. So what do you think they’re doing in their spare time? You’ll likely find them in the kitchen testing recipes for upcoming classes that can meet their exacting standards. Recipes must be healthy, feature fresh local ingredients, and above all else taste delicious. Here they share one of their favorites, Carrot Kari.
You can support the work of our youth culinary leadership training and Mission High’s green initiatives at the Veggie Fiesta on May 12th.