Empowering High Schoolers To Make Better Food Choices

Empowering High Schoolers To Make Better Food Choices

Thu 03 Apr 2014

Story by Bobby Fry and Alaina Webber

Food Revolution Day 2014 is upon us, and the Food Revolution Pittsburgh Cooking Club is at it again!

Inspirations for a city-wide healthier food culture

Following Jamie Oliver’s visit to Pittsburgh for the One Young World 2012 conference, the city accepted a one-year challenge toward bettering its food culture. As part of that challenge, The Food Revolution Pittsburgh Cooking Club began with the mission of empowering high schoolers to make better food choices by providing access to culinary tools and skills, local chefs, and industry experience. The cooking club has also established a working relationship with Pittsburgh Public Schools food service department, initiated a “fancy water” project in fourteen schools, and continues to host cooking demonstrations at a variety of community events.

Most recently, the Food Revolution Pittsburgh Cooking Club has partnered with the Global Shapers Pittsburgh Hub, an extension of the world’s largest nonprofit, the World Economic Forum. This group of twenty-some young professionals are focused on creating local solutions to global issues. Together, we are working every day to see solutions to the issue of food security—the cooking club being just one among many—flourish in Pittsburgh.

Raising the Monies: Get With the Crowdtilt Jive

The Food Revolution Pittsburgh Cooking Club is hosting the 2nd annual Food Revolution Day party in Pittsburgh at Obama Academy on May 16, 2014. In partnership with local restaurateurs, the youth, and a cohort of community stakeholders, we will be launching a 30-day Crowdtilt campaign as of early April with the initial fundraising goal of $25,000.

Throwing this day-of celebration is just the beginning. Our vision is to raise over $250,000 in order to continue the cooking club at Obama for another year, start a food truck run by the kids before and after school, and expand the program to a second Pittsburgh Public School.

Reaching these goals will lead to job creation for students and a sustainable model of community development. We are determined to see our kids empowered—eating well, making money, and feeding their friends and families thanks to their own skills and experiences.

Taking May 16th to the next level

The cooking club is taking May 16th’s celebrations to the next level in Pittsburgh. We’re taking over the athletic field, renting giant grills, and turning up the music. Twenty of Pittsburgh’s top chefs will enlist the help of our students to cook a reinvented school lunch menu for the crowd.

Expected attendance is over 5,000 attendees and 60 exhibitors across diverse industries—public health, fitness, education, the arts, environmentalism, business, food advocacy. Exhibitors are keeping it real (no pamphlets here!) with interactive exhibits worth writing home about like making trail mix, planting seedlings, using a juicer, participating in a soccer clinic, and creating a mural.

Everything will be free of charge.

On May 16th, you’ll find us along with the cooking club kids partying like peasants and dining like kings the best way we all know how—with friends, food and music. We can’t wait to celebrate our region’s food culture and the people who work together to build it.

How can you get involved?
• Follow us @FRPCC and on Facebook for updates.
• Donate to the Crowdtilt campaign.
• Join us on May 16th in Pittsburgh!

Crowdtilt Campaign Sponsorship Levels

• $10 Recognition on www.foodrevpgh.com
• $25 Feed a family for a meal on Food Revolution Day, May 16th
• $50 Provide access to tools and ingredients for the cooking club and food truck
• $75 Receive a meal for you, a kid and a teacher from the food truck when it opens
• $100 Drink up! Enjoy a custom cocktail named after you at Bar Marco (www.barmarcopgh.com) for a day
• $250 Rent a bus to bring kids from other schools to Food Revolution Day
• $500 Work a day in the kitchen with Executive Chef Jamilka Borges at Bar Marco in Pittsburgh
• $5,000 Provide access to a chef for one semester of cooking club (or lessons for yourself!)
• $5,000 Pay for a videographer to help us document this year’s victories each week.
• $10,000 Build culture by purchasing a piece of art from a local artist for the cooking space.
• $50,000 Buy and help name a food truck.
• $100,000 Start a new cooking club for another Pittsburgh Public School.

About the Authors: Bobby Fry is co-owner of Bar Marco and The Livermore. Working hard to hydrate and feed the youths, he oversees the Food Revolution Pittsburgh Cooking Club and directs Food Revolution initiatives across the city. He spits out Twitter genius over at @BarMarcoPGH.

Alaina Webber has been involved with the cooking club program for a year and half. From her bright orange desk at Food Revolution Pittsburgh Headquarters, she’s making plans and taking names as Food Revolution Day Pittsburgh project coordinator. You’ll find her getting the job done and tweeting with the best of ‘em at @AlainaWebber. The team believes that the best conversations happen over food and drink, and takes every opportunity to build relationships and gain inspirations through sharing experiences around food.


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