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Slow Food USA celebrates World Food Day with microgrants to gardens

By Julie Kunen

Microgreens in Wisconsin.  Baby spinach in Kentucky.  Cheese pumpkins in Oregon.  And stir fry greens in Pennsylvania — all delicious veggies to be served up by recipients of microgrants from Slow Food USA in partnership with the FAO to recognize World Food Day on October 16.

As overweight and obesity rates soar worldwide, this year’s World Food Day is a call for action to make healthy and sustainable diets available and affordable to everyone.   Many of the winners of the microgrant competition work in communities where a high percentage of students receive free or subsidized lunch.

Slow Food knows that true change starts at home, and that’s why we’re supporting our chapters and school garden leaders to celebrate #WorldFoodDay with events and projects that celebrate the central themes of the day: #ZeroHunger and access to healthy food for all.


A student at Ron Russell elementary in Portland, Oregon, with an Ark of Taste Long Island Cheese Pumpkin, harvested from the school garden with classmates and teachers.

#Zerohunger fighters

The eight winners of microgrants from Slow Food USA in partnership with FAO are:

In Wisconsin, Grow It Forward will teach up to 100 food insecure families the ease and affordability of growing their own microgreens. Families will first taste microgreens as a part of a salad prepared during a free community dinner, then participate in educational demonstrations to learn how to grow them at home.

In New York, Pound Ridge Organics Market will hold a class for young parents to learn creative ways to make colorful and delicious nutrient-rich snacks for their children, using surplus foods for a zero waste lesson.

Kindergartners and first-graders at Luhr Elementary School in Kentucky will read food-focused books that teach children that many of their favorite foods grow in the ground.  From baby spinach to bell peppers, kids will learn to love new foods, which will become their favorites in the lunch line.

In California, young students will visit their local school garden for an afternoon of visual and culinary arts.  After checking out the newly installed mural, kids can create their own posters for submission to the FAO’s poster competition celebrating World Food Day.  They will also be invited to chop up vegetables and herbs and design their own recipe cards for DIY lentil soup.

Lettuce Turnip the Beet CSGA in Pennsylvania will offer classes on regenerative agriculture (planting of legumes, cover crops, and bulbs and composting) and creating take-home container plantings for stir fry veggies such as tatsoi, snowpeas, and carrots.

In Oregon, 100 sixth-graders will experience a snapshot of seasonality in the community garden, harvesting lettuce, corn and pumpkins and preparing the garden beds for winter.

Slow Food DC will send out a call to kids aged 5-19 for their best artwork for the World Food Day Poster Contest.  Students can create a poster that illustrates their idea of what needs to be done to make healthy diets available for everyone and how each of us can improve our own diets. The posters will be displayed in a “gallery walk” of local submissions at an event featuring snacks, activities, and information tables led by local and international food organizations.

in California, elementary and middle schoolers will host a school-wide farmers market to promote healthy eating of regional and seasonal foods. Students and their families will participate in cooking demonstrations and tastings, then take the delicious and nutrient-rich foods home, for a tasty contribution to World Food Day’s goal of a #zerohunger world.


Slow Food USA and FAO celebrate World Food Day on October 16

On World Food Day, October 16, these and many other communities will celebrate their local farms, community and school gardens and encourage kids to eat delicious, healthy and local foods.   Slow Food USA is also sharing a recipe booklet full of ideas for healthy eating that will appeal to kids.  Download the booklet, submit a poster for FAO’s poster competition, and learn more about #WorldFoodDay events around the world.

A squashy corner of the Ron Russell elementary school garden in Portland, Oregon.

Julie Kunen is an editorial intern at Slow Food USA.


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