Immediately following SFC’s long-anticipated move to its new center, we held our second annual Program Replication Training on June 10-12 – in our very own space! Twenty-two individuals representing 10 different entities from Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas came to learn how to implement one or more of SFC’s current programs; Grow Local community and school gardening, Farm Direct farm-to-institution, Sprouting Healthy Kids farm-to-school and food-systems education, and The Happy Kitchen/La Cocina Alegre® cooking classes. Throughout the training, individuals engaged in planning sessions, participated in hands-on activities, spoke with program partners, and toured school and community gardens and SFC farmers’ markets. The training prepared these organizations to replicate program components in their own communities so more children and adults can “grow, share, and prepare healthy food.”
Our fabulous trainees gathered together for the first introductory session
Joy Casnovsky teaches knife skills to trainees
THK trainees gathered for a training session
Participants dove into hands-on training for The Happy Kitchen/La Cocina Alegre® cooking classes and experienced what it’s like to facilitate a cooking class from start to finish. Not only did they sharpen their skills in the kitchen and create tasty recipes but they also learned how to effectively lead classes on nutrition and food education to prevent chronic diet-related disease. One participant later tested the roasted kale chip recipe on her young daughter who is a picky eater, and to her delight, it was a hit!
Vanessa Toro leads a Community Garden training session
Our Grow Local staff led engaging trainings on Spread the Harvest, Community Gardens, and School Gardens, complete with tours of school and community gardens where the group met local gardeners in action. For the School Garden training, Pickle Elementary School teacher Judith Hutchinson told her story of starting a school garden because she believed it would be beneficial to her students’ emotional, behavioral, and academic learning. She encouraged the group to always “celebrate the small accomplishments.”
Farm Direct trainees tour the SFC Farmers' Market East with Suzanne Santos
A visit to the SFC Farmers’ Market East, located adjacent from our new center, gave the group a chance to speak with local farmers and vendors and see firsthand how the Double Dollar Incentive Program functions. The topic of doubling the spending power of SNAP and WIC benefits at farmers’ markets was so popular that a lunchtime discussion group was created to further explore the topic with SFC staff.
Farm Direct trainees explore the SFC Farmers' Market East
The energy from the group was contagious. One attendee noted; “Hearing from those who actually run these programs – everyone from SFC staff and interns to food directors, farmers, and coordinators was the most valuable portion of this training!”