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A Little Progressive Failure

July 27, 2011

Current Book: Grapes of Wrath
State of being: Toasty warm, in need of a fan.

Hello er’body.

I’ve been MIA for the past few weeks for various reasons, the most recent being my week-long vacation to North Carolina for some much needed family time. But now I’m back and ready to see out the last three weeks of this internship.

The things that have been on my mind recently:
1. Squash
2. Squash
3. The failure that was my CKP cooking activity plan for the Fair Share families these past three weeks
4. Squash

There’s a lot of squash.
Seriouzly.

I have a whole new knowledge set devoted entirely to zucchini preparations. The coolest recipe? A “Zucchini Dessert” that tastes almost exactly like a baked apple crisp (Yup– it happened, and it’s tasty). Why? I’m not really sure. It’s like magic. And –fun fact– peeled, chopped zucchini has the SAME consistency of a baked apple. The cup of sugar, 2/3 cup of lemon juice, and a good dose of cinnamon don’t hurt, either…

As for the fail that was my cooking activity.

We decided to offer 4 different sessions for the participants of the Fair Share project (people were chosen to recieve “vouchers” that they could redeem at the farmer’s market, guaranteeing access to fresh produce). The coordinators of the Fair Share project (including myself) thought it would be a good idea to offer two hour sessions where we take produce that would be found at those farmers markets and walk participants through a few different recipes that showcase what they have access to. Come sign up time, we had about 6 out of the 25 families show interest (3 English speaking, 3 Spanish speaking), but, thinking positively, I was just grateful we had people sign up! The first two sessions went well– 2 out of the 3 families showed up. Today’s session, however, was not so successful. 3 families were signed up to come, and no one came. No one. I was really depressing to spend a good few hours just on planning how to fit 3 families, their kids, and our translator (and my favorite woman ever) Audrey Hess, in our tiny kitchen only to end the day making a tiny casserole just to use up some of the zucchini and stick it in the fridge. With no home to go to. That poor casserole…

Audrey and I had a good chat, though, while we cooked. We talked about how the recurring theme of the Fair Share project has started to become “lack of participation,” even if people said they were interested. And why is that? Is there some “hidden” reason/barrier that makes the families feel that they can’t say “no” to us when we offer these things? Are the cooking opportunities set up in an intimidating way? IS there a need for this? Or are we to focus on other avenues of food education? I don’t have the answers, but what I do now know is that even though it’s disappointing, this is still progress. We now know what factors to be aware of when “next time” rolls around. I think that we might require a “lowering of expectations,” and with that we might be able to better focus on the small things that need to be tweaked in hopes to better reach the Fair Share goals. And it will happen. It will. Just not today. But what I can be happy about is the fact that we do have a casserole ready to go tomorrow.

And it will find it’s way to a family.

Peace out.
Emily

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