The 2010 Cenus results are starting to come out and providing insight Portland's neighborhoods, people and its future. Of particular interest to us at p:ear is the information on the city's "food deserts," areas that lack access to grocery stores with in a mile radius. The Oregonian has broken down that definition to .5 and .75 miles, showing more residents farther and farther away from stores, shops, farmers markets and other places to buy fresh food.
How do food deserts effect us? How does this effect the kids we serve? Just adding megamarts to these areas isn't enough to address all issues that come along with food deserts. And that's where the work at p:ear becomes crucial. One of our cornerstones is our kitchen and nutrition program which recreates that "kitchen table" atmosphere and conversations about healthy eating and food preparation. Fresh delicious food becomes the conversation piece between p:ear's volunteer cooks and youth. We firmly believe that what you put in your body is a sign of the respect you have for your body. Think back to when you were a kid and your mom told you to eat your beets because they were good for you. And maybe at first you thought they tasted like dirt, but after a while (and a few different recipes) you started to think, "hey, beets aren't so bad." For many of our youth who lack these role models, our meals are examples of a way to care for and nurture the self.
While many people may associate "community" with their Facebook page, a physical strong community is crucial to helping these young people be successful. Having access to fresh food and being able to use the knowledge they've picked up around the p:ear kitchen table can only be truly effective when they are surrounded by the proper resources.
Interested in being part of the kitchen table conversation at p:ear? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org