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Online grocer FreshDirect is contributing food to "Fun Food, Smart Food," a 12-week cooking and nutrition program for middle school-age youth (grades 5 through 8), which rolls out this month. The program teaches kids new cooking skills, enabling them to become enthusiastic about food and, ultimately, make healthier nutrition choices.
The series of two-hour classes, held at after-school sites in Brooklyn and Harlem, include hands-on cooking and interactive nutrition dialogues. Field trips to local greenmarkets and farms reinforce classroom lessons, and the program ends with a event in which students share their new skills and knowledge with their families or peers at the program site. It is hoped that this "train-the-trainer" model will help sustain the program in the future.
The program is funded in part by a contribution from Jessica Seinfeld to the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City, a 501C(3) organization that facilitates partnerships between the city and the private sector as a way to bolster public programs. Along with FreshDirect, Seinfeld's charitable organization, Baby Buggy, is providing take-home groceries for participating students so they can prepare the meals at home for friends and family members. The Children's Aid Society, which serves New York's disadvantaged children and families, is implementing Fun Food, Smart Food, based on its successful "Go!Healthy" initiative, which teaches young people of all ages how to cook and enjoy healthful foods.
Fun Food, Smart Food, a collaboration of the Department of Youth and Community Development and the Children's Aid Society, in partnership with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Department of Parks & Recreation, and Office of the Food Policy Coordinator, is slated to expand in fall 2009 to the South Bronx and Jamaica sections of the city.
Long Island City, N.Y.-based FreshDirect serves most of Manhattan and locations in Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island and the Bronx, as well as parts of New Jersey, Westchester, and Nassau County.