RBAC’s own Beach Fresh program is going strong in 2021. The Beach Fresh program started in 2019, intent on giving Rainier Beach youth meal prep skills that would lead them towards independence as they move into adulthood. The program was put in place to challenge food insecurity, which is described as, “the state of being without reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.” Through funding provided by the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods Healthy Food Fund, Beach Fresh 2021 is continuing to take stock of what we have in place and teach youth that by learning about health and nutrition, cooking at home and budgeting they can improve our overall wellness as a community. Focusing on our youth, this program is a model for what we can do throughout the wider-reaching community — not just within RBAC — to combat food insecurity, health disparities, and lack of available financial resources.
Employed by RBAC, young people earn while they learn through the Beach Fresh program. Sessions are held bi-weekly on Thursday afternoons and have been running virtually since the beginning of the pandemic. Although it would be fun to learn about healthy foods, cook and eat together as we did pre-pandemic, the youth are still excited to be sharpening their skills in cooking methods, techniques, food and culture, and budgeting.
Sessions include virtual demonstrations that focus a great deal on health and nutrition, alternative and adaptive diets that address health disparities prevalent in our community, meal prepping, shopping, and budget-stretching meals. Since the beginning of the year, we’ve also demonstrated how to set up a basic kitchen that included participants sharing information on tools and small appliances they’ve purchased and where to buy them to get the best value for their budgets. There are also many budget-friendly how-to demonstrations included in our virtual sessions like: do-it-yourself home fragrance, flash freezing, and homemade natural cleaning products, to name a few.
Our Beach Fresh planning team is composed of participants who have a plethora of ideas for the rest of 2021. One of those ideas includes a cooking demonstration from one of their kitchens that will celebrate the unique cultural diversity of foods in Rainier Beach. We are all looking forward to that session! There are food games, nutrition and medical staff guest speakers, kitchen tours, and many other activities on the calendar for Beach Fresh in 2021. The possibilities are endless and so are the benefits of this program. We encourage our participants to learn all they can and share with their families — whom we hope will share with their friends and colleagues as well.
If you have any comments, questions, concerns, or big ideas about the Beach Fresh program, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.