May 13, 2009

Nutrition and community

We're happy to be guest-blogging at's Sustainable Food blog. Many thanks to Natasha Chart for the opportunity.

Much of what's in this first guest-post will be familiar to Beyond Bread readers, but I do want to share this video here:

As I wrote on Sustainable Food:

[O]ur cooking class... is collegial and supportive. I’ve formed strong relationships with many of the people who attend the classes. Mr. Billingsley, the man featured in the clip, is a regular. He’s made great progress. When he first started the class, he warned me that he was something of a picky eater, but he really enjoyed things like avocado, hummus, and miso soup – and now even incorporates a white bean salad into his weekly diet....

[T]he effect of community modeling on eating habits is pretty substantial. A person in a community of resources is likely to be in contact with someone who is making healthy food choices and thinking about nutrition (maybe even reading food-related blogs). These social interactions are enriching, validating, and inspiring. But in lower-income communities, where fresh and nutritious foods are scarce and often too costly, those social interactions are less common. As a result, even though it is possible (though still too difficult) to have a balanced diet on a low budget, many people are discouraged from making the effort.

We designed our cooking classes with this function of community modeling in mind. As such, we’re able to create a peer support network that, hopefully, not only helps individuals eat well but will then percolate outward into their own communities.

We're excited to be reaching out to the wonderfully active audience.

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