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FoodPrints Summer Enrichment

A program for at-risk students in partnership with local farmers, FRESHFARM’s Pop-Up Food Hub and literacy organizations, Readers to Eaters, and An Open Book Foundation

Virtual Daily Food and Garden Learning with 30 DC Public Schools Students from Wards 7 & 8

Washington, DC – FoodPrints is cooking, gardening and exploring with students this summer – virtually. Our staff has designed a comprehensive virtual curriculum that mirrors the in-school FoodPrints experience.

FRESHFARM FoodPrints is providing summer enrichment programming for 30 students from five DC public elementary schools in wards 7 and 8: C.W. Harris, Anne Beers, Kimball, Simon, and Garfield. Small groups of students meet daily with FoodPrints teachers for seven weeks to grow, cook, learn, and eat together, with focused instruction on socio-emotional learning and
literacy. Our students log into homeroom classes and book clubs every morning, then, in the afternoon, cooking or gardening class. With a weekly bag of produce and supplies delivered directly to their homes, students make a variety of nutritious recipes, including yogurt and fruit parfaits, cucumber salad, and Tuscan kale salad. They also grow microgreens and brassica sprouts, log plant growth, and develop their “botanist brains” by looking closely at plants and making observational drawings.

Students and parents are very positive about the program. Na’Tasha Broadus, a parent of a student at Beers Elementary, told us: “I love everything about the program and how it’s helping the children learn healthy eating. I’m so glad we were able to be a part of it!” One student said
after cooking class: “I have dozens of ideas running through my head of what I can make.”

Weekly home deliveries of food and supplies for all participating students are made possible through collaboration with FRESHFARM’s Pop-Up Food Hub’s large-scale wholesale orders from regional farmers, with streamlined purchasing, sorting, and delivery. A typical delivery might contain kale, collards, salad greens, cherries, apples, beets, carrots, garlic, and snap

“This innovative weekly home delivery model for students is an example of the power of our stronger, larger organization made possible by our merger with Community Foodworks last year,” reflects Hugo Mogollon, FRESHFARM Executive Director. “It demonstrates what’s possible when FRESHFARM’s three main areas of work come together: our farmers and
markets, FoodPrints, and the Pop-Up Food Hub.”

Other partnerships make it possible to provide students with all the food, books, and supplies they need to participate in the virtual classes.

Students receive two new books each week and study them with their homeroom book clubs. These books have included Mixed Me: A Colorful Story by Arree Chung, Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix by June Jo Lee and Jacqueline Briggs Martin, and The Thing About Bees by Shabazz Larkin. This successful new book club model is made possible through our partnerships with Readers to Eaters, a book publishing company out of San Francisco with a mission to “promote food literacy from the ground up,” and with An Open Book Foundation, whose mission is to “connect authors, illustrators and their books with Washington, DC-area students to build equitable access and nurture a lifelong love of reading.”

“This wonderful program connects kids to reading, gardening, and cooking,” says Philip Lee, co-founder and publisher of Readers to Eaters. “Students learn about food through hands-on experience and stories. They also get insights to writing and illustrating books.”

In addition to daily book club meetings, students also have a weekly, virtual workshop with the author or illustrator of one of the books they are reading that week, arranged through An Open Book Foundation and Readers to Eaters. Students study the books during their book club meetings and prepare their questions in advance. “It has been a powerful experience for our students to meet authors and illustrators of books they are reading and to engage with them directly,” says Jennifer Mampara, Director of Education at FRESHFARM.

Heidi Powell, co-executive director of An Open Book Foundation, reflects on the benefits of this partnership: “FoodPrints’ virtual summer programming combines the best of our organizations – building equitable access to nutritious food, books, and food literacy for a direct and positive impact on the students we serve.”

The summer enrichment program is funded by the Office of Out of School Time Grants and Youth Outcomes (OST Office) located in the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Education and United Way of the National Capital Area.

While the program aims to provide science, literacy, math, art, garden, and environmental education through hands-on activities with supplies delivered to participants’ doors, we also hope that it carries on the legacy of our beloved colleague Shana Donahue, who tragically died In May. Her graceful and unwavering commitment to food access and education, especially for young Black students who struggle with food insecurity and access, is carried on through this summer program and the Shana Donahue Memorial Fund for Future Food Educators.

They welcome members of the media to join one of their virtual classes and/or interview one of the participating families in this summer program.

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