By Abby Hofrichter, Communications & Social Media Coordinator, Hofrichter Creative LLC, with contributions from Libby Freeze, FARE Coordinator
There is just something about seeing a group of pre-teens gathered around a cutting board preparing a heart-healthy snack that warms the heart! Since the start of 2022, our Food Access Resiliency Enterprise (FARE) program has successfully and regularly met with over 35 students in both elementary and middle school to give them hands-on experience with prepping healthy foods.
Miss Libby, our FARE Coordinator, leads a Food & Gardening SPARK for the first graders in our after-school Miracle Makers program every Friday afternoon. As the weather warms up, they will adventure into gardening, but for now, the group is content with making healthy snacks like yogurt parfaits with oodles of toppings and lean green smoothies. While making smoothies with chia seeds and greens, all 20 students were asked to add more of each ingredient after learning how the nutritional benefits could help them grow big and strong! “A rare but amazing feat,” as described by Miss Libby.
Miss Libby explained another similar experience from a recent class with 7th and 8th-grade students at Wright Brothers Middle School. The group was excited to share that they enjoyed the grilled veggies with homemade ranch using Greek yogurt much more than the traditional store-bought kind. While perhaps easy to gloss over in the course of a busy day, it is these little moments that go such a long way in demystifying new foods and giving students access to nutrient-dense ingredients. All in all, not a bad start to American Heart Month at East End Community Services!
About the FARE Program: FARE began in 2017 with support from Montgomery County and the United Way, to improve food security in East Dayton by increasing the affordability, quality, and nutritional value of the food available to our East Dayton families. Simultaneously, our gardening efforts and classes aim to enhance residents’ knowledge of how to grow and prepare healthy foods.