Cooking Matters is a national campaign to help end childhood hunger by inspiring families to make healthy, affordable food choices. It includes a variety of programs designed to teach parents and caregivers of young children, with limited food budgets, to shop for and cook healthy meals. The Fond du Lac/Sheboygan FoodWIse team was selected to participate in a state and nationwide pilot project of the Cooking Matters curriculum. The curriculum is one specific component of the Cooking Matters campaign.
All lessons in the Cooking Matters curriculum are designed to be either 30 or 60-minute lessons that involve parents and children cooking together in the kitchen. The curriculum is intended for parents of young children, primarily early childhood age. As a part of the pilot project, participating families prepare 1-2 recipes during the class that they can eat, bring home all of the ingredients (unopened) to make the recipe again at home, and receive a $10 gas card.
The pilot project has been an opportunity to bring new, innovative programs to the local Fond du Lac and Sheboygan communities, yet has also required a significant amount of staff dedication. The FoodWIse team has participated in multiple national and state phone calls and meetings, completed required online training, coordinated multiple meetings with local agency partners, learned the new curriculum and planned the lessons offered to local families.
To date, the following partners have participated in the pilot:
- Youth for Christ (Fond du Lac County): 3 individual lessons;
- Head Start (Fond du Lac County): 3 individual lessons;
- Fondy Food Pantry (Fond du Lac County): a 4 lessons series;
- Family Connections (Sheboygan County): a 6 lesson series;
- WIC (Sheboygan County): a 3 lesson series;
- Head Start (Sheboygan County): a 4 lesson series;
Participant evaluations will be shared following the completion of the pilot project. In addition, Nutrition Educators will share their feedback to the authors of the curriculum.