Fresh Truck x Freedom Schools

Blog / Fresh Truck x Freedom Schools

With the summer coming to a close we are excited to share one of the programs that is close to our heart. Freedom Schools is a reading literacy summer program implemented in communities across the U.S.A. where there exist gaps in access to quality academic programming. Originating from the civil rights movement of the South, Freedom Schools started with the intention to organize African Americans in seeking social, economic, and political equality in the U.S. through education as well as literacy programs for all. Today, thanks to the passion, development, and hard work of Cathy Draine and Mayra Leith the Freedom Schools summer camp in Boston has been expanded to include programming related to financial literacy, restorative community justice, as well as food and cooking literacy for the entire family. We couldn’t have been more excited to partner with the Freedom Schools and to have the annual opportunity to engage deeper and more directly with families and their communities about food culture and community health.

Fresh Truck’s involvement in the program is rooted in weekly inter-generational cooking demonstrations hosted by elders in the Grove Hall community.  Every Wednesday evening over the 6-week program Freedom Schools Scholars and their families would gather for a potluck and cooking demonstration. We provided fresh ingredients for the host to prepare their recipe in front of the group. After the presentation kids and their parents would receive $10 to pick out ingredients from the demo and any of their other fresh favorites. This programming created engaging touch points around food and health while celebrating healthy food culture and traditions within the Grove Hall community.

Over the 6 weeks, we had many memorable moments with Scholars and their families. Miss Mayra’s mother and husband cooked traditional Cape Verdean food and showed us the importance that role models have in  keeping traditional food & cooking culture alive. Identifying these folks not only helped us learn more about the different fruits and veggies that the Roxbury community enjoys but also about how people use food to pass down their heritage and knowledge to the next generation. This way we could not only share knowledge on healthy eating but also restorative community power that will uplift the intersectional cultural realities we all live within.

During the smoothie demonstration Scholars were able to participate in preparing and blending their own drinks. Throughout all the demonstrations Scholars were encouraged to try new things. With their smoothies, they were able to try new and different combinations, including green smoothies. Which to their surprise still tasted great! Getting them involved and learning with their hands and taste buds empowered the Scholars to understand more about their diets, bodies, and nutrition. Parents also reported having an easier time getting them to eat healthily and be involved in their food preparation at home.

Our work with Freedom Schools is a fun and rewarding part of our summer each and every year. Over 6 weeks we are able to engage deeply with Scholars, families and Freedom School staff in order to meaningfully support their programs. We want to give specials thanks to MassHousing for their annual support and enthusiasm for our work with Freedom Schools. We also want to extend our gratitude to Miss Mayra, Miss Cathy and entire the Freedom Schools staff and parents council for their hard work and dedication to making this incredible program happen.

Blog / Fresh Truck x Freedom Schools

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