The purpose of the Cocinas Sanas / Healthy Kitchen Project is to promote good nutrition through healthy eating habits among Latino farm worker families and throughout the Latino community. This involves promoting the use of high quality, organic foods as well as providing basic information on the connection between nutrition, exercise and health. Our goal for this project is to train Farm Worker and Latina homemakers in the use of non-traditional foods in their culturally traditional kitchens while extending their knowledge of the basic principles of nutrition and health and introducing exercise as a key element in a healthy life style.
The Cocinas Sanas Nutrition Program works with farm worker and Latina women and their children in Whatcom County. Our program:
- Addresses the relationship between the food we eat and diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, as well as obesity and digestive problems.
- Familiarizes the women who are the family cooks with local healthy food outlets and how to access them
- Engages the women and their children in a process to change the way they eat and prepare their daily meals
- Identifies and recruits two promotoras for an ongoing Cocinas Sanas program
- Develops curriculum and materials for an ongoing Cocinas Sanas Program and for adaptation of this program in other regions
- Works on creating a cookbook of participants favorite recipes and Cocina Sana wisdom on a healthy life style that can be referred to in future programs
- Builds pride and self confidence in participants own cuisine and an appreciation for locally grown foods as well as the majority community becoming familiar and appreciating the immigrant community.
Day Care and transportation are provided as needed for the program activities.
The following are descriptions of workshops being carried out by Cocinas Sanas:
- Overview of Cocinas Sanas program and Washington State Latino health statistics and trends; distribute program binder with relevant materials, the importance of healthy eating habits; healthy cooking methods in our traditional kitchens, list participants issues with food, identify kitchens for hands-on cooking classes and introduce children to program.Â Short Relevant FILM.
- Pesticide residues in fresh fruits and vegetables, toxics and additives in food production; organic vs. non-organic, local sources of organic food products, reinforce healthy cooking methods, address participants food issues and begin discussion of cookbook layout. Children will make a list of favorite foods. Tour local organic gleaning locations to understand what products are available locally and what gleaning is all about.
- The relationship between the food we eat and diabetes, hypertension, digestive problems, identify locally grown food for healthy meals, continue addressing participant’s food issues, review recipes for cooking classes and children’s favorite foods list and tour the Bellingham Community Food Co-op and PoliVoz, a local Mexican Grocery Store.
- Children’s nutrition and ways to engage them in learning healthy eating habits within our traditional foods and conventional U.S. menus. The importance of regular exercise as part of our healthy eating habits and possible simple exercise options. Develop list of food items for cooking classes. Evaluate workshops. A meal at the Bellingham Public Market. Children will spend part of the workshop playing (exercise) at an appropriate community play space.
Cooking sessions organized by Cocinas Sanas will focus on the use of organic, seasonal, locally grown and gleaned produce and how to incorporate it into a culturally appropriate kitchen with our own cooking style.
Each cooking session will:
- Ideally take place in the homes of the participants
- Be structured to allow for the children’s participation
- Be structured to allow shared leadership and collective decision-making
- Allow time to present the concept of becoming the Healthiest State in the Nation
- Allow time for evaluation
- Allow for celebration, dialogue and fun
(Our projects Cocinas Sanas and Raices Culturales are made possible with the generous support of the Washington Health Foundation, the Whatcom Community Foundation, Bellingham Food Co-op , and the Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship)