Image for Empowering Kids to Change the World

By Molly Sowash, Midwest Food Connection Food Educator

Food has always been at the center of our social interactions, cultural traditions, and the health and wealth of our communities. Therefore, it’s important that our children learn things like the history of the potato, the simple ingredients of pasta, or the native harvesting practices of wild rice. In a world growing more fragile with rising temperatures, where border lines are more blurred, our individual food choices have an even greater impact. Supporting local farmers matters; understanding the food traditions of our immigrant communities matters; mastering the art of zero food waste matters.

At Midwest Food Connection (MFC), we believe it is our responsibility to inform the next generation about their decision-making power. We teach elementary and middle-school students about the ripple effects of their eating habits. They hear stories about the cultural origins of grains around the world, prepare their own locally grown salads, and practice reducing food waste. Over the years, we’ve continually seen kids’ hunger for this kind of education. A 2nd grader at Horace Mann Elementary School told one of our educators last year, “If I could pick anything to do all day at school, it would be this.” The learning doesn’t stop at the end of the school day either. Parents tell us about their children making our recipes at home or requesting new foods when they shop at the co-op.

Since co-founding MFC 22 years ago, Mississippi Market has been a strong and consistent partner. The co-op carries out its commitment to food education by sponsoring our lessons each year in Saint Paul schools, reaching nearly 1,500 students annually. Recently, our partnership with Mississippi Market has inspired a new lesson! This year, we are excited to teach a lesson called “What is a Co-op?” to intermediate students, which will introduce kids to the cooperative model and how it differs from a traditional grocery store. This November, you can also support kids in Saint Paul by rounding up at the register when you shop at the co-op during our annual Positive Change month.

Kids often have little power over the circumstances of their lives. They do, however, have the power to choose which vegetables they take in the lunch line, how much to throw away in the cafeteria, and what recipes to make at home. By educating our students about conscientious eating, we empower them to make their own decisions for the kind of world they want to live in.

Kids’ Cooking with Midwest Food Connection

Wednesday, November 14 | 5:00-6:00 p.m. | West 7th store

Bring your children to a fun cooking class on Nov. 14 hosted by Midwest Food Connection Food Educator Molly Sowash. Through song, art, and cooking, Molly will familiarize students with an array of edible sea vegetables that have been nutritional mainstays in coastal cultures for centuries.