Saturday, June 25, 2011

Discouraging Public

As the Family Nutrition Program Assistant, it is my job to encourage all people and particularly those on food assistance to enjoy healthy lifestyles. These healthy lifestyles include eating healthful food. At this point in time, I believe it is the easiest time of the year to enjoy the healthiest food options. I say this because healthy, fresh, local foods are available. Sure, fruits and vegetables are available year round in grocery stores, but due to the fact that they travel thousands of miles to get on the shelves they lose their freshness and nutrient value over time. Buying fresh produce at local farmers' markets or growing it yourself, one is able to eat food literally the day it is harvested. This ensures that one of gaining all the essential nutrients found in the plant.

In order to encourage my local neighbors in Abilene and Dickinson County to enjoy these most healthful products I decided to conduct an Eating from the Market cooking class right here in Abilene. This free class would encourage residents to shop locally and demonstrate just how to cook some of these foods. I made fliers and put them around town in public businesses as well as advertised on the city's facebook page. It was even discussed on the local radio. This week was my first attempt at gathering people for this cooking class. I patrolled the farmers' market on Wednesday night and again this Saturday morning looking for takers on my class. Guess how many takers I got. A big fat zero. Super disappointing. I will say that I spoke with one lady this morning that came down to the market and shopped because she saw my flyer but didn't have the time to attend the cooking class. So I guess my efforts were not completely useless.

So just how do I convince people to attend such events? Any ideas? My attempt this week was to get people to the market and then have them travel a short distance down the road to our office location with a kitchen to do our cooking. I think that people are generally in a rush and don't want to take the time to go anywhere. My thought is to attempt to rig up some system under a tent so I can conduct this class right there at the market. Maybe if people were able to just stop by and watch while they were shopping they would learn something. I really wanted to allow them to participate, but obviously people are not interested in that action.

I don't want to sound like a complete Debbie Downer here, but I'm once again back to the simple fact that life in small town mid-west America takes forever to progress. I mean we have quality opportunities right in front of us but we're either too busy or too slow to realize what greatness is in front of us. I'm honestly very discouraged by the general lack of any interest in anything outside the norm. Blah, blah, blah. I understand that most great things fail many times before they become great. So back to the drawing board I go.

I take all suggestions and encouragement folks. Please and thank you!



  1. Dear Amanda,
    Persevere! I would have come had I known but I spend so little time in Abilene anymore. Your idea of a mobile kitchen in the parking lot is a good one. I'm sure you'll share samples and probably gather a crowd! I'm rooting for you.

  2. What you need is third-party endorsement, which is to say that some community group needs to promote you. A couple of suggestions: Hook up with a local business that would promote your class. We have a hardware store in our town that promotes cooking classes, and they're always packed. Or does Abilene have an Arts & Humanities Council? That's a good inroad as well. If you need more suggestions, contact me--this is a fabulous idea, so don't give up.

  3. What about starting a cooking club? If you could snag some people from different backgrounds to come to the first, and then see if they would sponsor the next meeting. These gals will come to purse, kitchen ware, etc parties. I'd kill for free cooking lessons. You got me to going :)) and if you had all the makings and then had each person do part of the cooking...hands on type stuff, so that they aren't just watching... It could be once a week or even monthly. That would at least spread the word and then they might take time at the market. If I'm not mistaken, you started right at the beginning of harvest which might be part of it too. Glad to see you hit the Rotary club. Did you tell them about your Dad eating the eggplant sandwich? lol What about making some foods from some of the market produce and having samples for people to taste and then ask if they'd like to learn to make it etc.

    Will keep thinking about this.

    Hugs, Aunt Carol