Explore what we’re doing in the community, what we have planned for the future, and please donate to support our efforts.
The E.A.T. Foundation was started in November 2016 as a “dining with a mission” 501 C 3 nonprofit organization. Our mission involves working actively with other nonprofit organizations and community groups in the elimination of food deserts.
A food desert is defined as a geographic area that has no, or extremely limited, access to fresh food outlets where residents can purchase high nutritional value products, such as fresh produce. Often characterized by limited dining options, predominately fast food outlets (ie: burger, fried chicken, pizza) and small bodega-type retail stores, these areas are also commonly several miles away from traditional food outlets (supermarkets). Their residents have difficulty in going food shopping at these locations due to limited transportation resources. 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 such projects as: providing fresh fruits and vegetables to homeless shelters through Richmond Friends of the Homeless; working with local Farmer’s Markets to subsidize the introduction of outlets for fresh vegetables in these communities; teaching cooking skills for healthy eating that are quick, tasty and easy to learn; providing “garden in a box” kits to inner city schools to engage the students in promoting sustainable eating; and the list goes on.
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.
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.
To Organize and Set Up a Ride Sharing Program/Shuttle to and from Farmers Markets and Grocery Stores
Oftentimes those who live in food deserts experience an additional obstacle regarding food access: transportation. This is especially true for elderly populations in low-income neighborhoods. We are interested in working with individuals and organizations like The Fertile Ground Food Co-op, and the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, to bring people directly to food resources such as grocery stores and farmers’ markets, and bring those resources directly to them.
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.
A quarterly community dinner for about 100 persons, mainly families, at which we teach and experience healthy food preparation and consumption
One of our core beliefs is that there is no better way to get to know someone, to connect with one’s community, than by gathering around the level playing field that is the dining table. We hope to use these dinners not only as an opportunity to offer a healthy, delicious meal to a family that may not otherwise have access to nutritious food, but also as a chance to teach food-preparation methods that emphasize natural flavors, health consciousness, and the dining ritual more generally. Bringing the community together in this way, we hope that our meals will ultimately lead to a greater deal of community engagement, food empowerment, and community health.