Why I Decided to Teach Kids Living in Food Deserts How to Cook
After I finished up my master's of education in May last year, I began developing the Alma Community Outreach Program alongside the opening of Alma Restaurant in downtown LA last June. The restaurant's co-owner and chef, Ari Taymor, agreed the community outreach program would be an essential component of the business—coupling our passion for food with education.
The program provides monthly classes teaching elementary and high school students how to create a healthy snack or meal. Beyond the cooking component, we hope to impart a sense of empowerment in the young people—the understanding that these recipes can be replicated at home, free from the confines of a cooking class.
It is inspired by my own experience working at the Tenderloin After School Program (TASP), in the heart of San Francisco’s notoriously high crime, low-income neighborhood. The neighborhood is also considered a food desert—there are no grocery stores located in the Tenderloin—which means that often the only option is to shop at the local liquor store where shelves are packed with cheap, high-processed foods.
This month, we're challenging the GOOD community to host a dinner party and cook a meal that contains fewer ingredients than the number of people on the guest list. Throughout March, we'll share ideas and resources for being more conscious about our food and food systems. Join the conversation at good.is/food and on Twitter at #chewonit.