Food & Wellness Department: Community Engagement
CentroNía believes nutrition education is critical for all members of the community. CentroNía’s Food & Wellness Department provides nutrition education and cooking workshops for families to encourage healthy, active lives. Workshops cover a variety of topics, such as the importance of drinking water, food choices in the market, gardening, and physical activity. CentroNía’s healthy cooking workshops teach participants how to use local produce to create delicious, nutritious meals at home. Participants in these cooking workshops receive a voucher to redeem free produce at local farmer’s markets.
Through CentroNía’s involvement in the Quality Improvement Network (QIN) from the Office of School Superintendent of Education (OSSE) in Washington DC, the Food & Wellness Department is currently training staff at six early childhood education centers best practices for nutrition and wellness with early learners. Staff lead or participate in parent engagement activities, teacher and staff professional development, and review compliance with meal environment and feeding practices.
Through partnerships with local organizations, staff and families have access to local produce and wellness resources:
- Community FoodWorks: CentroNía contributed healthy recipes to early childhood education centers that participate in the market share. Additionally, CentroNía promotes Community Support Agriculture (CSA) to families in partner centers by distributing vouchers among families in the community.
- Crossroads Farmer’s Market: In Takoma Park, CentroNía provides vouchers and cooking demonstrations to families from April to November through its partnership with the local farmer’s market.
- George Washington University WaterUp! campaign: This campaign works with Early Head Start teachers and home-visitors to promote the consumption of water, specifically focusing on Latino families.
CentroNía’s Food and Wellness Department also provides year-round internship opportunities for students from local, national, and international colleges and universities.