Our past education work has centered around our pilot neighborhood grocery store in Greater Grand Crossing, using its retail floor and in-store demonstration kitchen as our classroom. We partnered with great organizations like UI Extension’s Illinois Nutrition Education Programs (INEP) and EverThrive Illinois to offer free programs and events focused on shopping and eating healthfully on a budget. Volunteer chefs, including Ramona Baptiste, Pamela Phoenix, and our own board member, Courtney Lance, gave cooking demonstrations to introduce simple new ways to prepare healthier meals.
In 2014, we piloted Shopping For Change, funded by University of Chicago Medicine’s Community Benefit Grant Program and designed to promote healthy dietary choices among adults with type 2 diabetes through hands-on cooking instruction and discount incentives for targeted foods. Our program partners, Chef in the Hood and Phoenix Diverse Holistics Collaborative, taught great cooking classes. As measured using food frequency questionnaires, over 50% of participants more than doubled the proportion of healthy foods they consumed during the program as compared to before, and the majority of these participants continued to consume higher proportions of healthy foods after completing the program as compared to before starting the program.