It seems that the universe is trying to tell us something. October 16th was Oxfam’s World Food Day and October 24th marked Food Day in the U.S. Both events were designed to bring awareness to both the responsible supply and healthy demand in our food system. As our local food production season winds down, the conversation about our food system at large heats up, and with good reason.
According to the California Food Literacy Center,
Two generations of Americans do not know how to cook… If every child had the opportunity to learn about, grow and cook food and understand the implications of food waste on the wider community, they would have the knowledge and tools to lead healthier and more fulfilling lives. Studies show that:
- The more children learn about food and nutrition, the more likely they are to eat fruit and vegetables.
- The more children cook and prepare fresh food from scratch, the more likely they are to appreciate healthier and more varied ingredients.
- The more children plant and harvest fruit and vegetables, the more motivated they’ll be to eat them also.
In the spirit of Food Day all year long, the Junior League of Boston targets its community outreach efforts to girls throughout the greater Boston area. Our programs promote the wellness and nutrition of girls through attention to the issues girls of all ages face on a daily basis, including low self-esteem, poor body image, obesity, food insecurity, and poor nutrition. Our flagship program, Kids in the Kitchen, engages adolescent girls in discussions about health, nutrition, and wellness and teaches basic food preparation skills that participants can bring back to their families. This year, we are even planning a cooking demo for our girls by the team at America’s Test Kitchen!
When I was a Kids in the Kitchen committee member, one of my most gratifying experiences was introducing our participants to fruits and vegetables they had never seen or heard of before. When they understood the ingredients and the skills needed to make their meals, they became more open to healthier food experiences.
If you’re inspired to continue the discussion about healthier food systems, sign up to attend a post-Food Day event in your area. These events are an easy and fun way to connect with people who are concerned about our food’s origins and destinations and to learn more about what you can do every day to help yourself and your neighborhood to eat well. You can also start your Food Day journey at home by downloading and using the pamphlet How to Get Kids Cooking. I can attest that it works equally well for adults!
– Lyn Huckabee joined the Junior League of Boston in 2004.