Explore what we’re doing in the community, what we have planned for the future, and please donate to support our efforts.
We started E.A.T. Foundation in November 2016 as a way to address the food-inequity in our community. We received our 501(c)(3) designation in January 2017, and have since been working to raise awareness and funds towards the eradication of food deserts, and to promote greater food-equality in the communities we serve. Our mission involves working actively with other nonprofit organizations and community groups to make healthy food options more readily accessible, to teach culinary and nutritional skills, and to facilitate the active engagement of community members in the solution to this pervasive problem.
A food desert is a geographic area that has no, or extremely limited, access to fresh fruit, vegetables, or other healthy food options. These areas are often characterized by limited dining, with fast food outlets, and small bodega-type retail stores dominating the landscape, in lieu the more diverse and healthy food selection that might be found at a supermarket, local grocer, or farmer’s market.
Medically, because of the poor diet options, food deserts are also characterized by populations with higher rates of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, and other afflictions that can be controlled or mediated through good eating habits. Oftentimes these areas also support a higher percentage of homeless persons.
We raise funds in support of the Foundation’s goal through pop-up dining events in cities and larger towns across Virginia and several surrounding states to finance our projects. In the past, our projects have included providing fresh fruits and vegetables to homeless shelters through Richmond Friends of the Homeless; conducting outreach to local Farmer’s Markets, seeing how we might subsidize the introduction of outlets for fresh vegetables in communities that lack adequate resources; Participating in cooking skills educational programs and events; and the list goes on.
Our primary project/goal, however, is a social-learning culinary and nutritional education program, whereby families will be paired up with one another to get around the table and share a meal (several meals, actually), and in the process hone their culinary skills, their meal planning skills, and become expert navigators of their community’s food-resources (or lack thereof). This project goes beyond the kitchen to create lasting, mutually beneficial relationships, and explore the real life applications of food and dining as a means of expression, communication, and community-building.
If you are interested in taking part in this project, which consists of about ~5 shared meals, and the requisite planning, cooking, and sourcing thereof, with chef teachers and mentors along the way, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will see about getting you into our next cycle of classes!
Wheels in Motion
Providing Fresh Fruit and Vegetables to Richmond Friends of the Homeless
Working with the various partners who supply food, time, and energy in support of Richmond Friends of the Homeless, E.A.T. Foundation is coordinating an effort to provide those who attend the lunches provided by this valuable organization.
In addition to fresh vegetables at lunch, E.A.T. Foundation is working with Richmond Friends of the Homeless to provide snack bags that have healthy alternatives. While this is a small step, fruits and vegetables provide essential nutrients that assist in brain function, energy, and development. [If you’re interested in learning more about the connections between nutrition and behavior, here’s a lengthy but extremely informative article about the links between diet and behavior.]
To Bring Farmers Markets Directly into Food Deserts in the Communities we Serve
Working with farmers in the communities we serve, we hope to find out directly from them what it would take to get them to act as a weekly, pop-up grocer in areas lacking access to fresh produce. After determining how to direct our efforts in terms of marketing/promotion, logistics/permits, and community outreach, we hope to engage new segments of the community in the production, preparation, and consumption of healthy foods.
Chef Mentorship Program
Many of the chefs with whom we work have their own philanthropic endeavors in the community. We would like to coordinate with those chefs who have already demonstrated their commitment to their community to develop a chef mentorship program geared towards teaching high school students who are already interested in the culinary arts some of what it takes to operate as a professional within that fast-paced world. Cooking teaches empowerment through skills and a commitment to others.
To go into area schools and teach sustainable small-scale gardening in a hands-on format, allowing students to take home what we’ve grown after a cultivation period.
This will require coordination with schools, horticulturalists, and student schedules in order to be an attainable goal. We believe this is doable in the format of an after-school program, where nutrition, food-preparation, and urban farming are taught in tandem with one another.
Please consider a donation to E.A.T. Foundation’s not-for-profit projects that benefit the community.