MicroGreens, a new program, and soon-to-be nonprofit, teaches 6th graders how to cook healthy food on a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) budget.
After 4 years at D.C. Central Kitchen, MicroGreens' founder, Chef Alli Sosna was alarmed to learn that more than 22 percent of D.C. residents use SNAP benefits. She knew from working with kids that they all liked fruits and vegetables, but "when they got home there was a big disconnect in budget restraints, time and a culinary education. I wanted to figure out a way to lessen that gap, which would inevitably also make kids more healthy, decrease obesity issues and increase family time."
MicroGreens will run a pilot program starting Oct. 15 at Shaw Middle School. Sixteen 6th graders will meet for one hour each week for an after-school program on how to shop and cook delicious food for no more than $3.50 per meal for a family of four, or $0.87 a person.
It's a tight budget, but as a budding private caterer, Chef Sosna can relate.
"As a start-up, I, too, am on a very restrictive budget," she says. "I eat a lot of brown rice, and I eat a lot of beans. And you drink water, you don't eat chips. I don't go out to dinner every day. I pinch, and every day I try to stretch."
She also says, learning which foods to buy and how to cook, eating well on a SNAP budget is within reach.
[Music: "You Are What You Eat" by ABC Television Network, Dr. Roslyn B. Alfin-Slater, consultant]