The South Valley Community Partnership meets every three months on the fourth Wednesday of the month at the South Valley Health Commons from 8:30 to 10 am in the Classroom. The meeting is open to all and provides a forum for information sharing and networking.
The next South Valley Community Partnership meeting is Wednesday, April. 23, 2015 at 8:30 am.
There is an old saying, called a dicho, in Spanish, that pretty much sums up the Community Cooking Classes taking place at First Choice Community Healthcare’s South Valley Health Commons: El que parte y comparte, se queda con la mejor parte. “The one who portions and shares, gets the best part.”
As we have opened our kitchen to the community groups who have collaboratively organized these classes (First Choice Community Healthcare, Presbyterian Healthcare Services, Agri-Cultura Network, Korimi Early Childhood Cooperative, South Valley Early Childhood Alliance, and FoodCorps), First Choice has seen a growing interest in healthy eating and active living – and that can only be good for our patients, their families and the community as a whole. Presbyterian Healthcare Services supports this work as a part of their community health initiatives to support healthy eating, promote active living and prevent unhealthy substance use in our community. Working collaboratively makes our shared work all the more effective.
Through effective recruitment by the Korimi Early Childhood Cooperative, the Agri-Cultura Network, South Valley Early Childhood Alliance, FoodCorps and First Choice, close to 50 people have been participating in the classes each month since it began in the spring.
For each class, the participants get to feel, smell and taste the fresh ingredients, grown locally by the farmers who make up the Agri-Cultura Network in the South Valley. You can’t get more local than that.
Classes are taught by culinary students, chefs, and home cooks who know a thing or two about cooking healthy, delicious food on a budget. Information about diabetes prevention and nutrition education is also shared by First Choice providers.
Many of the participants are people with home-based childcare businesses who were looking for creative ways to fulfill a state requirement that they learn about preparing and serving nutritious meals for the children they take care of in their homes. The South Valley Early Childhood Alliance worked with the Korimi Cooperative to make childcare providers aware of the classes and provide free childcare on site for the participants.
While the collaboration and community participation is impressive, the real proof is in the pudding.
Participants, including the kids at the arts and craft table, cleaned their plates and cups when they tasted homemade spaghetti sauce made with fresh onions, carrots, garlic, tomatoes and herbs from the Agri-Cultura Network; when they tasted green drinks and fruit smoothies; and when they tasted soy ceviche; soy stir fry and tempeh on a recent Saturday.
And best of all, the participants each leave the class with an arm-full of the fresh Agri-Cultura Network produce to try the recipes at home. The classes are free and delivered in both English and Spanish.
Oh, and the diabetes prevention and management tips are sprinkled in throughout the classes. Another dicho is appropriate here: Al hablar, como al guisar, su granito de sal. “In speaking and cooking, a grain of salt.”
“We’ve learned how much of each type of food to put on our plates and how to season foods that I didn’t think had any flavor using orange juice and lemon juices to marinade,” said Misleydi Porven, a participant of the classes. “I like how they teach us to eat more nutritious foods
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