July's Featured Vegetable: Zucchini!
FEAST VA has partnered with Monarch Dining and the Monarch Pantry to help address food insecurity at ODU and to provide meal kits to students.
Each month, students can pick-up meal kits that contain all the ingredients needed to make a healthy recipe. The meal kits include a recipe card, as well as a link to a video providing a cooking demonstration.
This month, we are featuring zucchini in this light and summery recipe:
Zucchini Spaghetti with Lemon Tomato Sauce
Students must reserve a meal kit for pick-up. To receive updates on when the meal kits will be distributed, follow ODU’s FEED ODU Instagram page at @feed_odu.
In Virginia, farm to school efforts ensure that every child in Virginia has equitable access to healthy Virginia grown food, resulting in greater educational performance and improved sustainability for Virginia agriculture and related industries. The Virginia Harvest of the Month campaign launched in 2019 featuring 12 crops that can be harvested during the feature month or stored and used during winter months. Each month contains posters, point-of-sale signs, relevant lesson plans, suggested elementary-level books, family-scale recipes, commercial-scale recipes for school use, and production records. Each school division received at least one set of 12 posters for each school and school nutrition program directors received flash drives containing user guides, supplemental materials, and high-resolution poster reproducibles.
The heart of Virginia farm to school efforts lies in procuring more local products for child nutrition programs and using them to excite and educate students about consuming healthy, locally raised food. Successful farm to school efforts around the Commonwealth benefit from community partnerships and tie classrooms and school gardens to the school nutrition program.
Farm to School Specialist, Virginia Department of Education
2020 was certainly a year that we all will remember. For a grass roots non profit it was a time to pivot and rethink how best to serve our audience.
Getting information about our organization into the public schools seemed like a good approach. Partnering with the Virginia Farm to School program and creating monthly recipes for the Harvest of the Month started in January. These recipe cards and information about the FEAST program are dropped in food foods that go home with 3,000 students each month.
Old Dominion University Student Pantry reached out to us and asked how we could help. We suggested taking the recipe card and providing all the ingredients in a bag, A Take It & Make It Kit would be something the students would enjoy. In March we started the Take It & Make It kit with the support from the Monarch Dining and Aramark Food Services who provided the ingredients and staff to pack the bags. We suggested that we take it a step further and do a video/ YouTube on how to put the recipe together. Chef Patton is now making YouTube videos of the recipes that include a QR code on the card for easy scanning. The students seem to enjoy taking them and making them. Many of the students are international so it helps them to navigate our foods a little better.
Additional FEAST Virginia has been underwriting the Cooking with Jae episodes on WHRO Public Media every other Sunday at 6 p.m. since February. Jae and Chef Patton at ODU have connected and have produced several YouTubes from the Monarch Dining Center. Check them out!
The goal of this Monthly Digest is to keep you informed of the services we are providing for our communities. Please give us some feedback by email, Facebook or Instagram. 2021 is going to be a great year!
Bev Sell - Chief Food Advocate
Founder of FEAST Virginia
By Jasmine Deloatch Assistant Editor of the New Journal and Guide
With summer comes the grill lighting and outside gatherings, but this summer, staying healthy may have a new meaning. Being healthy as the weather warms up includes being COVID-19 safe, as well as eating healthy and exercising.
Outside gatherings are recommended, opposed to gathering indoors, but health officials still encourage a six foot distance and the wearing of a mask. Make sure to keep up with the latest recommendations from health officials to keep your summer gatherings as safe as possible.
Making a health plan before gatherings can keep you on track for when the food is ready. Going bun-less is a great way to cut carbs and calories. Choosing veggies instead of chips is another great alternative! Grilled vegetables are always a good idea! Swap the tea and lemonade for infused water. Lemons, strawberries, cucumbers and blueberries make for great flavored water.
Salads are a summer favorite! Creating them can often times be just as fun as eating them and there’s no specific recipe. You can start with your preferred greens and even add cabbage and other vegetables. You can top it off with a protein like chicken, fish or steak. Adding your favorite cheese is next and your favorite nuts and seeds as well! Salads are an easy way to get in your greens and protein, all while cutting the carbs out.
Incorporating exercise into your summer fun can often be second nature. After the grilling is over, take a walk around the neighborhood with family as opposed to the sit down talks that normally occur after eating. Creating an activity that involves movement for your guests can also boost the mood as well. Kickball or Volleyball in the backyard are a few fun games that can be played without a lot of excess equipment and while still keeping a six foot distance.
Choosing to stand rather than sit, if able, is also a great way to keep moving without thinking too much about it. Summer is a great time to get active and create new memories while staying on track health-wise.