Where does our food come from? At Valley Natural Foods, we want everybody to understand this, especially our children. Knowing where your food comes from helps to create healthy choices and habits for life. In addition, teaching children about nutrition and balanced eating early on helps them grow up to be healthy adults. Valley Natural Foods not only believes in providing information about the importance of eating more fresh fruits, vegetables and healthy grains, but it also believes in offering hands-on educational opportunities. These educational opportunities include supporting food education in the classroom, providing free, interactive community-based tasting events and activities in-store and facilitating student field trips to the co-op to get their hands dirty in our gardens. Every bit of education we provide helps to reduce the impact of the obesity epidemic in our local community.
The current youth food education programs at Valley Natural Foods are:
It all begins in the classroom. Since 2006, Midwest Food Connection has received financial support from Valley Natural Foods to bring their curriculum and instructors into Apple Valley, Burnsville and Eagan elementary school classrooms. These instructors provide fall, winter and spring series focusing on locally grown food, cooking with Minnesota’s local harvest, learning about gifts from other cultures and urban farming. The series culminates in the spring with students visiting Valley Natural Foods for planting activities in the co-op’s teaching garden space. Because of Valley Natural Foods’ support, Midwest Food Connection also teaches classes at International Outreach Church in Burnsville, utilizing Woodhill Urban Agriculture’s community garden space on the church’s property for learning activities.