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EAT RIGHT PHILLY Making Strides in Food Education

November 1, 2019

The Department of Nutrition Sciences' EAT RIGHT PHILLY team is making strides in educating children and adults alike through their community partnerships.

The Eat.Right.Philly table at a farm stand event outside Belmont Charter SchoolRecently, the team partnered with the Promise Neighborhood team of Drexel’s Office of University and Community Partnerships and the SHARE Food Program to bring fresh produce and programming to the Promise Neighborhood school communities. Six schools in the Neighborhood host monthly farm stands and SHARE sells fresh produce at a discounted rate, while the EAT RIGHT PHILLY educators provide nutrition education, recipes and a sample of a recipe prepared using seasonal produce.

Students, parents and community members have attended the farm stands and purchased the fresh fruits and vegetables. At the Powel Elementary School Farm Stand this month, Aubrey Redd, the EAT RIGHT PHILLY educator for that school, was concerned that the windy, cool weather would keep customers away. "Instead, I discovered that more customers came than the previous month," reported Redd. "Some were even calling their friends to remind them to come."

This initiative is intended to improve community access to fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as education on the use and benefits of consuming fresh fruits and vegetables.Jessica Cullison, an Eat.Right.Philly educator with a community member at the farm stand event outside Belmont Charter School

EAT RIGHT PHILLY is making a lasting impact with adult students, too. In addition to working with students in kindergarten through 12th grades, the popular and successful Department of Nutrition Sciences program also works with older students as part of the School District of Philadelphia’s Educational Options Program (EOP).

At South Philadelphia High School, EAT RIGHT PHILLY educator Melissa Matsumura has been working with EOP students since last year. This past month, Matsumura was on her way to teach an interactive cooking lesson when a student from the previous year recognized her and asked if she was teaching her classes this year. "The student told me he learned from the lessons I previously taught," she commented. "He especially enjoyed the cooking activities and recipes. He even offered to come by to this year’s lessons and to sample the recipes," she added.Students from South Philadelphia High School participating in a food prepration

Matsumura was thrilled that this student remembered her lessons, enjoyed them, found them to be helpful and informative, and wanted to come back again. This is a testament to the impact, not only of the program, but also the educators who are out in our communities and schools are having.