A Community Cafe May Reduce Food Insecurity in D.C.

Last year,  50 million people — including 17 million children — lived in food insecure households in the United States. This means that more than potentially someone you and I know were not able to afford an adequate supply of food.  In DC, 12.9 percent of households were food insecure. It has gotten so bad that in October Sesame Street added Lily (a Muppet) to the cast who sometimes cannot afford to eat.

That makes me mad. Really. (as my mom would add for emphasis)

Annette Ryan, Executive Director of Everybody Eats, and her team have decided that there is a sustainable and non-soup kitchen way to address this issue. They will start a cafe.

(If the video does not load click here to view http://vimeo.com/33203229)

Now before you start choking on your coffee and yell at the screen about the high rate of failure in the restaurant industry. Continue reading

How can you make food policy accessible? A: Start with a casserole!

A HUGE thank you goes out to everyone who came to the first Charm City Casserole Cook-Off! Not only were the entries stupendous–but we had wonderful judges (Monyka Berrocosa, Linda Rittleman, Ms.Dorothy Peace and Ms. Juanita Garrison) and photography provided by Sulakshana Bhattacharya. Becky Kuk gave everyone the scoop on Whitelock Community Farm and some of the participants got to walk down the street to see the Farm first hand.

Check out the pics here.

Down load the winning recipes!

Sweet Potato Casserole-Judges Pick

Holy Mole Pie-Crowd Favorite and Kid’s Choice Winner

We’ll let you know when you need to get your ovens revving for the Charm City Casserole Cook-Off so stay tuned!

Skpe Series with Pitchfork Holders

I am embarking on an exciting project which I am pretty sure you will love. Over the next few months you will be getting a chance to see what it takes to change the universe. I’m interviewing passionate change makers in health*.

These people are going to blow you away with their honesty and detailed notes on how they got to where they are today. In order to make it feasible to get all the juicy details, the interviews will be posted into two jam packed sessions. The first interview will cut to the chase– they will tell you the problem they are intending to fix, how they chose their method as the way to do it and give advice to you on how to charge into their field. The second interview is a deep dive where they will tell you what it really takes to be a game changer, how to define success and weather you’re cut out for being the lead change agent or if you should make the leaders casseroles (everyone needs to eat so there is no disgrace intended here).

These are interviews from people in global health, equine therapy, primary care, food security and everything else in between!

Stay tuned…eyes peeled….lovely things will enter your in-box next week.

* If you’re like–hey why haven’t you interviewed me? Then drop me a line info@turningpointpolicy.com and let’s see if we can make Skype magic!

How to Avoid Pitfalls When Trying to “help” Someone

Ever tried to “help” someone and for some unforeseen reason it turns into a disaster?

Sometimes people are compelled to help because a particular terrible thing happened (earthquake) or they have been inspired to incorporate helping into their daily life. Most of the time this is all dandy—someone needs something and someone provides what the other needs in a way that can be used. But then again, sometimes this doesn’t happen…

Continue reading

Applied Food Policy-Snobs Need Not Apply

What we know:

There are food deserts in Baltimore.
People in Baltimore are not healthy.
There is a wide range of economic backgrounds in Baltimore.
People like to eat.
Change is hard.

The Solution:

Charm City Casserole Cook-Off: Eat This, Baltimore!

The solution uses highly applied public health and urban food policy approaches in order to promote community building and city revitalization. Casseroles became the frontrunner as the catalyst for change after using a wide social, structural and cultural lens to assess the opportunities that could be seized to create a turning point in people’s lives.

Casseroles are a familiar food and easy to make. They can be made with easily sourced ingredients and can be made at a variety of health and price points. Many of the current food/urban agricultural projects that are occurring across the city are focusing on food accessibility and nutrition consciousness-raising. A logical next step is to get people cooking.

Casseroles, in this paradigm, are intended to be used in a similar way as mushroom soup is used in their recipes—as glue that holds unsuspecting ingredients together. Casseroles are inherently meant to be shared and thereby are great vehicles to promote community building. Driving deeper connections in the community raises trust and can help rebuild our informal networks, which are an important influencer of health status. Casserole contests can be part of Baltimore’s economic engine. The contest can be used as an opportunity to showcase the diverse food offerings Baltimore has to offer as well as raise funds for a worthy cause like Whitelock Community Farm. For reference, the Texas State Fair made $3.6 million dollars in ONE day…the day of the fried food competition. Why wait?

There’s a $50 1st place cash prize for each category! Compete/Eat!