FOOD SECURITY WORKSHOPS FOR STUDENTS, LOW-INCOME, AND HOMELESS INDIVIDUALS
My idea is to start a series of workshops geared towards cooking inexpensive, healthy and filling meals based off of commonly donated or inexpensive ingredients. I believe that food security is important and it is increasingly more common that people, youth especially, lack basic living skills such as cooking. These workshops would be held in various locations throughout the city to provide access for anyone who expresses interest, with a focus on being accessible for homeless individuals, students, impoverished individuals, and low-income families. Eventually, I would like to grow this into a permanent fixture within the city with a community kitchen, ongoing workshops, and cafe to act as a social enterprise. For the time being, the funds from this initiative would support the costs for obtaining 20 sets of cooking equipment, a small trailer for transporting equipment, and a storage unit for the equipment.
My idea benefits the community by providing life-skills to increase food security. By teaching individuals how to cook healthy, inexpensive meals, it empowers individuals to live healthy lifestyles rather than buying cheap, unhealthy alternatives with little to no nutritional value. Furthermore, by increasing food security for individuals through this idea, we can reduce malnutrition, increase community engagement, and create a common environment for learning. This idea also aims to humanize homeless individuals by creating spaces where individuals can interact with people from all walks of life in dignified ways as the workshops will be open to everyone. This idea will support the work of food banks so that individuals have the skills to make use of donated food. It also aims to support soup kitchens through offering another option to individuals for obtaining food assistance.
I hope to implement my idea by Spring 2018. I would like to start with one workshop per week.
My goals include:
-Creating a network of restaurants and grocery stores who donate food items on a regular basis for use in the workshops to support the costs of the workshops (without charging participants in order to support the target audience).
-Building relationships with community organizations to host workshops in community centers for subsidized costs.
-Partnering with organizations that support homeless and impoverished individuals and families to increase participation of target audience.
-Starting workshops with 20 participants.
-Eventually working up to having 50 or more participants at each workshop.
-Gaining enough interest to host multiple workshops each week.
-Partnering with professional chefs to host a variety of different workshops
-Creating partnerships with companies who have access to large teaching kitchens to provide space which offers a wider variety of learning opportunities (full kitchens with stoves and ovens, etc)
By the end of summer 2018, I hope to have achieved my goals of 20 participants per workshop, partnerships with restaurants and grocers, weekly or bi-weekly workshops, and plans for permanent or semi-permanent indoor locations for hosting the workshops.