I know, as a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) member, that it can be intimidating when that box of green, orange and purple stuff arrives on my doorstep. I often find myself GOOGLeing around just to identify those oddly gnarled, rooty things. Or that stuff that looks just like a weed that I would hack out of my grass, should I really EAT that? I ask simple questions like
So, we are going to host a Facebook Live cooking show. Each week, we will identify the items, explain their taste, demonstrate some quick cooking techniques, feature a dish or two, and talk about the nutritional value of each item. We will show people how to substitute, maximize the flavors, minimize the complain from our kids and demystify all of the greens, the purples and the weedy lookin' stuff. STEPsocal suggested that if we do this, not only are we helping feed today, but we will be helping people understand that fresh and different are not scary.
And as we move this forward, we will invite some of our families to show US how to cook these things. People are ingenious when it comes to food, and we can want to build a community around our common goals.
Erika Barner, our Director of Events & Fundraising went with me on Monday to visit the San Diego office of STEPsocal. They are an organization focused on helping junior military stationed in Southern California. A snippet from their website is shown below and describes the STEP mission.
STEP assists junior active duty enlisted members and recently discharged enlisted veterans and their families in Southern California facing financial crisis achieve long term financial self-sufficiency through counseling, educations and grants to alleviate critical near term obligations.
We met with Tony Teravainen, President & CEO and Kathi Bradshaw, Vice President. We talked about our backgrounds, corporate missions and personal hopes. I found myself agreeing, saying "of course" and being awed at their compassion, drive and commitment to serve those that are serving our country. Erika shared a personal story that described the significant societal rewards of believing that everyone has unlimited potential and treating them in exactly that way.
We talked though ideas on how we might work together to end the number one issue that affects our enlisted citizen-patriots; hunger. The issue of hunger and poor nutrition is undeniable and pervasive within the junior ranks of our military. We are hopeful, though. And our new friends agreed that Produce for Patriots can have a positive impact on the lives and health of our in-need military families.
Tony and Kathi gave Erika and I some great ideas that we are busy implementing; they gave us contacts that we are following up and they gave us motivation and encouragement that we will use every day.
I hope that we will connect with the STEP team again as we expand the outreach of Produce For Patriots.