Welcome to our first edition of the FEAST (Food Education Access Support Together) Virginia Newsletter. We hope you will “like us” on Facebook. 2019 has been a productive year laying the foundation for our FEAST Virginia program! We started
the year by working with our attorney Dirk Sampselle to incorporate and become a 501(c)3 non profit organization. By May, we received our certification of incorporation, and in September we received our 501(c)3 non profit status!
Much of my time was also spent meeting with community leaders, organizations and church leaders. “Planting seeds” is a lesson I learned well coming from my experience as a Farm Market manager for 15 years!
We provided an introduction to FEAST Virginia to the public at Queen Street Baptist Church on September 19, 2019, which was well attended, and included Mayor Alexander who drew winners for the grocery bags provided by the Foodbank that
were raffled. We shared our Fish Stick Tacos after our presentation
and answered questions.
In October, we received our Dun & Bradstreet number which is required to apply for funding from the City of Norfolk. We received initial City funding of $3,000 in November. On October 22, Dana Wakefield, co owner of Pendulum Meats in Ghent, hosted a FEAST Virginia information gathering for friends, customers and the public to learn more about the benefits and plans of the program. Also in October, Ms. Michelle Cook and I started volunteering a few times a month at the Foodbank of
Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore on Fridays when participants pick up food from 9a.m. to 11 a.m. I was pleased to see that the Foodbank is providing “healthier” food donations and has improved their distribution method. The Foodbank has created “a line” where folks are asked what they would like to receive, instead of a prepared bag/box of foods that they may or may not wish to eat. I was thrilled to see a robust selection of fresh vegetables such as green beans, asparagus and brussels sprouts being offered and being chosen by participants! I had the chance to chat with folks about their veggies and was told how much the kids enjoy them. So glad to hear that! The Foodbank also offers meats and fish on occasion. And recipes are provided! So if you are looking to volunteer a few hours a week, please consider the Foodbank, who is one of our Community Partners.
In November, we produced a FEAST Virginia presentation to students in the Eastern Virginia Medical School Masters of Public Health program which included sharing our Fish Stick Tacos. The purpose of the presentation was to introduce the FEAST program to the health care community and gauge the interest among the medical students in signing up for the upcoming 3 day Train the Trainer FEAST program in February. The Brock Institute is giving 10 scholarships to students who would like to
attend. Unfortunately only one student signed up. This is not surprising given the course load of med students and the newness of this start up new program.
In December, Dana Wakefield, a teacher at ADL School (Academy of Discovery at Lakewood) and supporter of FEAST Virginia introduced me to the 5 th grade teacher at ADL School, Ms. Christina Bishop. This is the fourth year that the 5th grade class has participated in a Young Chef Competition. It was quite wonderful that they decided to include FEAST Virginia this year. The Young Chef Competition was held on December 5 at the school. Students were challenged to design a recipe they could make for $1.25 or less a serving and also keep it healthy.
The competition helped develop their math skills by figuring out the food costs, and also honed their writing skills by developing a written recipe with clear instructions. Students were also assigned to research the FEAST Virginia website for the goals of the organization. A total of 96 students participated and were very excited
about their creations! Several local chefs, parents, teachers, ADL Principal Tommy Smigiel and myself judged the competition. Competition categories included
appetizers, entrees and desserts. Of course, we know that all of the students who participated were winners. We are hoping to incorporate student recipes in our 2020 FEAST Virginia program.