On Nov. 5, at Columbia Middle School’s Staff Room in Sunnyvale, participants in Fresh Approach’s (www.freshapproach.org) Veggie Rx Program made fruit smoothies. The recipe included kale grown in Fresh Approach’s community garden. The nutrition educator leading the class showed that consuming this smoothie is an easy way to add more fruits and vegetables to the diet. This class currently meets every other Tuesday evening.
With offices in Concord and East Palo Alto, Fresh Approach is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 2008.
“Our mission statement is about connecting families and communities to food grown by California farmers and to expand people’s knowledge about food and nutrition,” said Danielle Hamilton, Education Program Manager at Fresh Approach. “The Veggie Rx program is doing all that, and specifically working around nutritional knowledge to prevent chronic diseases related to food, and to help people make sustainable lifestyle changes to prevent nutritionally related chronic disease.”
“As an organization, we are trying to address the health disparities that exist in our communities,” Hamilton added.
Veggie Rx classes are available all over the Peninsula, East Bay and South Bay. In Santa Clara County, Veggie Rx classes have taken place in San Jose and Sunnyvale.
“Nov. 5 was our first Sunnyvale class at Columbia Middle School,” Hamilton said. “This is our Spanish series. We plan to do classes in English and in Spanish. The class is conversational and discussion-based.
“We talk about nutrition, what people’s experiences are and what people know about it,” Hamilton continued. “There is also a hands-on activity that we do in each class to help participants engage in and apply the materials we’re discussing. At the last part of class, we do a cooking demonstration and recipe tasting.”
Hamilton explained that at the first class, students receive a workbook that helps them plan out the next 16 weeks of the program. The educator encourages students to track what they eat and how much they exercise.
“In the first class, the other thing we talk about are farmers’ markets, and we share reasons why people should shop at farmers’ markets,” Hamilton said. “The farmers’ markets’ produce is always grown locally using sustainable practices that help protect our environment. The food is very fresh, and it tastes delicious. The vouchers we give away in every class can be used at a farmers’ market.”
This Veggie Rx program is open to the public. New participants receive priority over participants who have been in this class before. At this time, spots are still available for the Sunnyvale class.
“Each class series is eight classes over 16 weeks,” Hamilton said. “Each class is an hour-and-a-half long and covers a different topic in nutrition. There’s one week where class will be canceled during the winter holiday. We’re meeting back in the New Year. The last meeting date will be Feb. 25, 2020.”
Call (925) 771-2990 for more information about enrolling in this Veggie Rx Program and to confirm meeting dates.