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Natural Awakenings Westchester / Putnam / Dutchess New York

Poughkeepsie Farm Project (PFP) Launches Innovative New Program, Poughkeepsie Food Power At Home

Mar 30, 2020 01:27PM ● By Marilee Burrell

Krieger School students prepare beet smoothies

Poughkeepsie Farm Project (PFP) has launched an innovative program, Poughkeepsie Food Power At Home, with the goal of putting fresh produce in the kitchens of 100 local students and their families every week. The students are participants in PFP’s after-school programs.

“Poughkeepsie Farm Project’s mission to cultivate a just and sustainable food system in Mid-Hudson Valley is taking an important step forward by piloting Poughkeepsie Food Power At Home,” Ray Armater, PFP’s executive director, said in a statement announcing the launch. “We are grateful for a $15,000 grant award from the Henry Nias Foundation for this project.”

Fittingly, the announcement came on February 28, known in the farming community as Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) day. Poughkeepsie Food Power At Home will give participating students mini-CSA shares. (PFP also sells CSA shares to the community at large.)

Every week, the students will prepare recipes in their Poughkeepsie Food Power garden club, and then take home a recipe, along with three Poughkeepsie-grown produce items necessary to prepare it, such as carrots, kale or beets. The idea is not just to provide students with fresh produce, but also to give them the opportunity to use the nutrition education and skills they are cultivating in the classroom.

Poughkeepsie Food Power at Home is a unique culinary enrichment program because it provides all the tools necessary for students to take their newly honed cooking skills to the next level in their home kitchen, Armater says. “As teachers know, true mastery of a skill results in the authentic performance of that skill.”

One of the strengths of the program is that it invites and enables strong family engagement. Armater calls this intergenerational sharing “the icing on the cake” of the ongoing after-school programs conducted by the PFP.

 “Our students are learning about food from different cultures, seasonal eating, and growing their own food,” he says. “This project enables the students to continue building their skills and knowledge at home with their families.”

The pilot program will run through April and start up again in September for the new school year.

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