June 2, 2018
Update by donR
By visiting our archives you get a glimpse of all the ways Family Meals Project volunteers have connected with people of all ages and backgrounds in our community. Since 2012 our mission was to bring people together to share ideas that would encourage all family members to share responsibility for planning, preparing and eating healthy meals together on a regular basis. The benefits are well documented in our posts. So you may be asking, ”
August 10, 2f017
How the time flies. This past year we have had Cook-Ins at The United Church of Ferndale, Ferndale Senior Center and informally at the Cornerstone Shelter. Now we are remodeling a building so residents can host their own Cook-Ins to teach basic principles of good nutrition, meal preparation and celebration with others. We will also address packaging for future meals.
We are excited to be working with The Miracle Food Network as they remodel a spacious building to house a kitchen with room for classes and other activities that bring people together. We are planning to start classes again in September, 2017, where we can focus on our four basic ideas. E-mail us if you are handy with a hammer or electrical work as we need help asap.
Vinnie and Edith are glad to have support as they expand their effective ministry. The FMP is holding a fundraiser golfing event and we welcome you to join us for the local Ferndale event, August 26, 8:00 AM. at Sandy Point GCC. You may participate singly for $30 or as a team of four ($100). This includes morning coffee and rolls, noon BBQ, prizes for all and lots of fun. Starting at 9:AM it will include 18 holes, all in honor of Gary Solari, who was an active advocate for job safety for 40 years at Phillips 656 Refinery.
We hope you can get involved.
September 21, 2016,
About Family Cook-Ins and Community Cook-Ins
We are supporting groups wishing to host Family and community Cook-Ins by offering food, presentation materials, cooking equipment, suggestions and a helping hand when needed.
Community Cook-ins are open to anyone wanting to cook meals with a group, bring an ingredient to share, eat together and leave with new ideas and leftovers.
Family Cook-Ins are meant for families who plan, cook together, sit down to eat as family, play games, share ideas through meaningful conversation. Families leave with meals and a sense of family cohesiveness.
March 1, 2016
Family Meals Project:
Same Message – Different Delivery
We are partnering with other Whatcom County organizations to continue programs focused on family involvement in planning, preparing, and sharing nutritious meals. However, thanks to support from The Family Dinner Project team in Massachusetts, the word “SHARE” takes on a new meaning. It means to promote fun while engaging in meaningful conversation around the family dinner table.
The whys and hows are topics embedded in our recent web posts but here’s a brief list of what’s happening:
- The Ferndale Boys and Girls Club is spearheading the training program for volunteers wanting to host Community Family Dinners where Food, Fun and Meaningful Conversation is modeled with several families.
- The Boys & Girls Club will also host their own Community Family Dinners along with the Ferndale Library and area Churches.
- Our Family Meals Project will maintain a web presence and offer support for any NP food program.
- We’ll assist Senior Center Coordinators in finding volunteers for wellness presentations.
- The Food Bank “Meal of the Month” program will resume when the Food Sense program es County Extension Office reorganizes.
- The next and possibly last project entails forming a leadership team as described in January.
January 23, 2016
- The Family Meals Project is no longer a project… It is a program that will lead toward a healthy future for our children. In December we brought representatives from over a dozen Whatcom County agencies together to discuss how we can best move toward a healthy future. Here are some things that we decided were all-important:
- The FMP will assemble a leadership team composed of industry, business and community leaders. They will work together to assure FMP sustainability. The mission of the family meals project will focus more on encouraging all community organizations to share ideas and resources which will promote a healthy future for Whatcom County. Long term effective change can best come about by working with families.
- It makes sense to join with The Boys and Girls Club of Ferndale and other groups to promote tenets of The Family Dinner Project. We are now in the process of hosting a training program for volunteers wishing to lead community dinners at the Boys and Girls Club of Ferndale. We are excited to have such good community support and feel strongly that this is the best way to promote change in the Pacific Northwest
- The FMP the website will serve as a hub for groups wishing to promote the family dinner project. We will continue to share information about healthy budget friendly meals and maintain a calendar of food related events in the Northwest.
- We will remain partners with Whatcom County Senior Centers in an effort to coordinate a series of wellness activities. By working together the senior centers can create a list of viable speakers on health-related topics important to the senior community. The FMP role will be to publish information about speaking engagements and help find other appropriate activities for seniors.
- The Ferndale Food Bank meal of the month program is successful and is best administered through the Food $ense program of the WSU extension office for Whatcom County. That will leave more time for our Family Meals Project to focus on promoting family dinners..
November 17, 2015 update. Our advisory committee is inviting Whatcom community members to meet and share ideas about how to involve children and young families in our project. With a national focus on ‘Healthy Futures” we could introduce ideas developed by The Family Dinner Project. Their program “4 Weeks To Better Family Meals” would be a good fit for our project at this time.
Circle December 1st 2015 on your calendar and meet and share ideas with us from 12:15 to 1:30 at the Ferndale Community Resource Center 5694 2nd Ave Ferndale, WA. Lunch will be provided and if time is short for you, come late or leave early as needed.
About The Project In the Fall of 2012, eight community members brain-stormed ways to engage local families in conversation about Affordable Basic Cooking and using natural foods. The “Project” under the umbrella of the Ferndale Community Service Co-op, was initiated. Six pilot cooking classes funded by WalMart Corporation, were held and evaluated. The recommendation was to go directly to the people.
After examining WSU’s Food $ense program, Harvard’s Family Dinner Project, Greater Boston’s Food Banks and Seattle’s Community Kitchens we gleaned the best from the best to develop the FMP. Partnering with the Community Food Co-op, Ferndale Food Bank, Ferndale Senior Center and the United church of Ferndale we are able to conduct classes that fulfill our mission:
“To bring community together and explore ways to plan, prepare, and share healthy budget-friendly meals .
March Cook-In was fun! We assembled cooked and shared delicious pizza. Lots of veggies, feta cheese and whole wheat pizza shells combined for a healthy pizza option. 1/2 of a pizza was about 200 calories.
Our Cook-In’s are a blast! Ten of us came together to assemble a master biscuit mix made with whole wheat flour or rice flour for a gluten-free option. After packaging the mixes to take home we enjoyed fruit roll-ups and chicken pot pie made from the mix. I’m not sure which part was best:
- Discussing the many ways to use the mix,
- Realizing how a roasted chicken is used for 3 meals, or
- Watching Michael, a seventh-grader, cook a thin pancake for roll-ups.
Wanted: A few community leaders passionate about ABC (affordable basic cooking) for the health-conscious family.
March 26, 2015 by DonR FMP Coordinator
It’s time to organize a leadership team** to represent the Family Meals Project. It is evident that the FMP fills a void in the community. There are several food delivery programs while the FMP and Food $ense focus on how to plan meals and cook the food after is delivered. We also coordinate with others to lead discussions about how to prepare inexpensive healthy meals. But before we can set a new course I think it’s important to know what has been accomplished over the last four years
- To date, we have seen the cook-ins, food bank classes, and senior center classes gaining in popularity.
- We have written recipes and guidebooks to support our classes.
- We have established a modest funding base.
- We have established positive relationships with other organizations
- Our website is in place but needs to be more user-friendly.
In addition to assembling an oversight committee, I would like to see us form a partnership with the family dinner project, out of Massachusetts which focuses on family cohesiveness during dinner time with children. Other groups are interested in opening discussion about partnering with us such as the Commonthreadfarms.org project. So, you can understand why it’s appropriate to form a team to define our future.
**Leadership team is defined as a group of people working together to assure the success of an organization. The team meets only as necessary and probably two or three times a year. Standing committees, on the other hand, meet often and are responsible for specific tasks such as programming, fundraising, publicity, and web development.
Senior Citizens And “Crock Pot Meals,” A NEW PROGRAM. September 1st 2014
Just add an “S” to The Family Meals Project. We are partnering with the Ferndale Senior Center to explore ways Seniors can use slow cookers to prepare simple nutritious meals at home. Two classes are scheduled each month and participants will learn about slow cooker safety, ingredient preparation and nutrition, all within the Slow-cooking theme.
October 2015. Our Second Cook-In; Everything We Had Hoped For.
Fifteen community and Church members came together to pull turkey, assemble meals for the week and enjoy a sit-down-meal together. Four turkeys were cooked in the morning and dressing, scalloped corn, mashed potatoes and gravy were cooked during the gathering. After we sampled the meal, everything was boxed and either taken home or stored in the Church freezer for emergencies meals. Plans are in the woks for the November Cook-In, pies etc.
Food Bank Meals of the Month
We are in our fifth month of offering hands-on classes at the Ferndale Food bank and cooking the meal-of-the-month. The project has been well received and we would like to be able to eventually offer the classes to more clients. The Washington State University’s Extension Food Sense program is working with Suzanne Nevan, Ferndale Food bank Director, to provide recipes, instruction and guidance. We trust that the program will continue to improve and expand. Contact us if you would like to use our materials in your community.
The Family Meals Project Leadership team met to define our mission and plan events for the fall. We will continue the partnership with The Ferndale Food Bank, WSU Extension office in Bellingham and the United Church of Ferndale to host cook-Ins. The next meeting will be in September and we plan on expanding our board of Directors to 9 members.
A Brainstorming Session was attended by 16 community members representing 12 programs. They recognized how the Family Meals Project complements their food distribution programs and encouraged us to host cook-Ins, make presentations and make ourselves available to senior citizens.
Senior Citizens Shared Cooking Experience. We held a workshop for 35 seniors in Sumas, WA to share ideas about preparing budget-friendly meals. They have an untapped wealth of experience and knowledge and were more than willing to contribute ideas. It was such a relaxed and enlightening evening we are anxious to return for a Cook-In.
Update on the FMP. September 6, 2014 We started our pilot project at the Ferndale Food bank. Food recipients joined us to discuss ways to prepare and cook with real food. During the “hands on” session, participants prepared whole foods for use in recipes. While prepping ingredients, we shared ‘Tips and Tricks” for modifying recipes to use what they have on hand, food handling safety concepts, and ways to involve all family members in meal planning, prep, and sharing meals at sit-down dinners. The best part was sampling the lentil-rice soup and granola-baked apple at the end of the session.
Cook-ins this fall will include one-skillet meals, cook once (chicken) for 3 meals and slow cooked stew. We will continue the classes and write presenter manuals for anyone wanting to start a program in their community.
Goals for 2014
- Explore ways to expand partnerships with food banks. The Ferndale Food Bank is piloting ways to connect with people to give them recipes and ideas on how to cook the food they take home. Washington State University’s Extension “Food $ense” program is partnering with our FMP Project to explore ideas.
- Host a community “Cook-In” to share ideas about healthy food and cook food to take home for future meals.
- Present ideas for stretching food dollars to senior citizens in Sumas, WA. Presenters will be trained for future presentations in Whatcom and Skagit Counties.
We will keep you informed about events coming up this winter. The United Church of Ferndale has again graciously offered their kitchen and meeting hall.
The Family Meals Project concluded its pilot classes in the Spring of 2013. We want to thank all 26 participants who attended and shared their ideas. We are now putting those ideas into a cooking class guidebook. Your group will be able to use these materials to enhance your own classes or informal cooking get-together. The Family Meals Project can be replicated in your community.
The FMP website and publications are designed to support groups of people wishing to explore ways to plan and prepare low-cost nutritious family meals. By using “real food” to assemble meals, you can cut costs and improve their nutritional value, regardless of preference or need. Discussions and menus are flexible enough to appeal to anyone, whether vegan, flexitarian, traditional, or those with special medical conditions. By planning ahead and using smart shopping strategies it is possible to serve a healthy dinner for six at a cost of $10