Faith and Food Equal Fun and Nutritious Eating In Oregon
Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon (EMO) was founded in 1994 with a mission to promote community food security among faith communities. Aided by a USDA Community Food Projects Grant, EMO started the Interfaith Food and Farms Partnership (IFFP). Among many partnerships, IFFP is now collaborating with Hacienda Community Development Corporation to provide cooking classes for families and middle school students as a part of Expresiones - an after-school and summer enrichment program.
The cooking classes along with the necessary supplies and food are provided by volunteer chefs from the Bon Appetit Management Company. Chef Micah Cavolo, who is a parent himself, recognizes that many kids don't understand how the food system works.Â Kids in the program are involved with the cultivation of a local community garden and use vegetables they grew in their recipes. Chef Cavolo sees even greater benefits:Â "I feel that to have a successful sustainable future, you need to engage and nurture the future and in my world I do that through food. The only thing more rewarding then being a chef is being a teacher also, lucky for me they are rolled up into one job." Obesity and diabetes among Latinos in Benton and Linn counties are increasing rapidly, and organizations are responding to help with what some call an "obesity epidemic" among Latinos. Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon was recently awarded a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to continue and broaden their work fighting childhood obesity.