Last week I was talking to my neighbor whose grandmother just passed away at 108 years old.
How did she live so long??
When people asked her this question, her response was “home-cooked meals.”
Cooking my family meals from scratch has always been a priority of mine. Thankfully, I share a property and dinners (and the responsibility of cooking those dinners) with my sister. Our two families eat home-cooked meals at a table together almost every night.
We women at Be Rooted love healthy, organic food. We cook and eat lunches together here every day also. We were thrilled when Karen Haralson came into our little shop in Felton and told us about her non-profit program, Nourishing Generations, which educates and motivates children and community members to cook and eat healthy whole foods.
Since supporting the people in our community is one of Be Rooted’s core values, we now send regular monthly donations to Nourishing Generations.
I spoke with Karen today and learned more about the program.
Nourishing Generations cooks with children and also teams up with local organizations to serve different groups. They bring their vegetables, kitchens, and nutrition know-how to a foster youth program through Encompass Community Services as well as a women with cancer program through WomenCARE.
For the kids program, Karen and her team of chefs go to elementary schools in Santa Cruz and teach kids how to cook meals comprised mostly of fresh vegetables. They reach between 450-500 students a year.
This is a hands-on experience for the children, as they get to chop the vegetables, follow the recipe, and make and eat a delicious, nutritious meal (served on real plates with cloth napkins, which is a first for many of the kids.)
Nourishing Generations does not usually have access to a real kitchen, but they are good at making one wherever they go!
“We take all the pots and pans and utensils with us, and our van goes rattling down the road,” says Karen.
They usually work with just a small toaster oven and a hot plate, but they pump out some amazing dishes. Besides the healthy ingredients, they provide aprons, knives, and cutting boards for the children. They also provide education about the food they are preparing so the children can make healthy eating decisions as they grow.
Nourishing Generations receives great feedback from the children, their families and the teachers at the schools. During one of our storms this winter, one class made soup with the NG chefs. It was only a matter of hours before the rest of the school was asking their teachers when it was THEIR turn to make soup! You can learn more about Nourishing Generations and their amazing work here. We're so grateful to have met Karen and get to support this amazing program.