Although the recent years of the COVID-19 pandemic have presented trying times for both educators and students, FamilyCook has taken advantage of the shift toward remote learning to reach an even broader span of individuals. Now, access to our award-winning nutrition education curricula is more accessible than ever before, with both in-person and new virtual versions of four of our programs.
Here is the lineup:
What We’ve Learned So Far
FamilyCook is delighted at the multiple victories and successes virtual learning has produced. Preliminary data from our virtual programming has shown that youth are shifting food behaviors and cooking for themselves and with their families. More and more parents and kids are cooking from scratch, using more vegetables, and allowing for scarce dollars to go further. Just look at the stunning, healthy fun recipes teens are making at home!
From teaching and cooking virtually with both youth and adults, we have made a few major observations as to why we are seeing such positive results:
- The recipes we teach are highly appropriate for both food insecure and food secure populations. The ingredients we ask participants to use are simple and easy to procure, and often already in their own homes. We are always focused on influencing individuals to make marvelous, great-tasting, and nutritious meals out of ordinary ingredients that are highly affordable and accessible. No frills and fuss needed.
- Attending class from their own homes shortens the period of adoption of recipes into participants’ daily lives. When their own kitchen is their classroom, positive changes in cooking and eating behaviors can occur almost instantly and seamlessly.
- Speaking of their kitchen being their classroom, that means no commute to class, of course! Without the need to travel to in-person classes, participants – especially busy adults – are more willing and able to attend.
It’s also remarkable how comfortable young people have become with coming together virtually online. Instructors had a bigger learning curve to learn to fully utilize their virtual classroom.
We are seeing our virtual Teen Battle Chef program results are as strong on behavior change and youth development as our group, in-classroom at school delivery.
Facilitators for Virtual online cooking instruction observed:
- Students knew the ‘chat room etiquette” and stayed ‘muted’ until it was their turn to speak.
- Kids greeted each other with nicknames and excited voices as each new friend entered the ‘room.’ This created a very welcoming atmosphere.
- The young people were quick to support each other with online-delivery barriers that came up related to ingredient substitution or how to share cooking assignments with the devices they had available.
Potential Barriers are not as severe as we anticipated:
- Ingredients did pose a problem for students to participate in every class, but not overall
- Trying a new food – kids are always resistant at first. But when they are participating in multiple sessions and focused on their own creativity, it’s remarkable about how they have responded.
And what exactly are they cooking on their own?
How to Participate
We have diverted some of our community funding to make this education more widely available by offering teacher training scholarships to entire school districts and community organizations to deliver this critical education. Schools with active PTO’s and community groups, who have funding for virtual programming, can take advantage of our reduced-cost offerings.
Our current funding can support training scholarships for 5 new school districts and community organizations in the most at-risk communities across the US. We will be able to support even more school districts through our new GoFundMe campaign.
Schools and community organizations can sign-up here.
And coming soon, we will have FamilyCook online curricula for parents and children at home!
Questions? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 212-867-3929