The Stir It Up! Youth Community Kitchen will be back in session this coming May, at the East Richmond Community Hall and Steveston Community Centre!
Every week, Richmond youth will be creating and sharing delicious, hearty meals together, made from healthy, sustainable and local ingredients. From fresh salads to homemade pasta, curried chicken and rice to banana bread warm out of the oven, participating youth will be gaining food skills as well as learning creative ways to utilize seasonal ingredients.
The goal of this program is to support youth in developing food skills, learning nutritional knowledge, and accessing local resources to improve their individual food security. Being food-secure is not merely having the physical and financial access to food, but also for what is consumed to be nutritious, sustainable, and supportive of a healthy, active life (World Food Summit, 1996).
Home-cooking a meal can be an incredibly enjoyable, creative, and budget-friendly event. Youth will learn that, through easy food-prep and cooking methods, fresh and inexpensive ingredients can be made into scrumptious meals. Eating a meal created with friends can bring a wonderful sense of accomplishment and community.
Cooking is a skill that benefits long-term health. Fresh ingredients contain the most nutrients and flavours naturally, therefore not only do they provide the body with the most nourishment, the amount of sugar, fat, and salt needed for good taste is also much less than heavily processed foods. An example would be home-made soups versus canned, the previous containing a few hundred milligrams of sodium per serving, compared to the 1500+ milligrams often found in the latter. High intakes of sugar, fat and salt are associated with increased risks for serious diseases such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and coronary disease.
Stir It Up will be equipping youth with life-long tools to optimize their food security. The impact of this program will not end with the individuals participating, but extend to their families, friends, communities and future households as they exercise and share what they have learned.
“The shared meal elevates eating from a mechanical process of fueling the body to a ritual of family and community, from the mere animal biology to an act of culture.” – Michael Pollan