do good. eat good.

There is something that many of us take for granted each day. Food. The majority of us have the good fortune to dine out, shop our local grocers and markets, and even grow our own plethora of goods. We read about food. We value and appreciate food. We know the importance of eating right (most of the time anyway), asking questions and paying attention to where our food comes from. Sadly I believe we are still in the minority, though thanks to continuous efforts of many individuals like Michael Pollan and stories like Food Inc., the greater nation appears to be catching on.

Perhaps the biggest issue here is that many of the people making poor food choices are also making them for their kids. Kids who are growing up on fast food and processed garbage. Kids that can’t recognize a tomato from a potato. Kids that are becoming plagued with juvenile diabetes. And kids that represent the first generation not expected to outlive their parents.

Of course there are a lot of factors contributing to this dilemma. And there are varying perspectives on what to do about it. We’re not going to easily solve the problem, but we can start today by trying to make a difference right here in our community.

We can help 4th graders in Cleveland learn about food. Learn about farming. And understand where their meals come from and the benefits of making smart choices early on. And then they can take that newfound excitement and knowledge home to their parents and start a conversation about what they eat and begin to make better choices as a family.

Last school year, Cleveland Foodie readers together with local chefs and businesses raised $3,820 for Veggie U. Which ultimately saved the program in our city. For those of you that don’t know, Veggie U is a national program that promotes the well-being of children through a healthy lifestyle with a focus on making wise food choices, combating adolescent and juvenile disease, and attaining an understanding of sustainable agriculture. The program provides a complete kit and lesson plans to teachers to help educate their students through hands-on, fun curricula. There are 157 participating classrooms in our area and each kit costs $225. At the end of the program, students understand the connection between agriculture, good nutrition and the culinary arts.

Well Cleveland, these kids and teachers need our help once again. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, I know you care about food and our community. And I am going to assume you also have an extra $5 and are willing to skip your daily latte in lieu of supporting this inspirational program. Now I understand many of us are active in other charities and freely donate our time and money to those in need. So if you can’t donate, that’s completely understandable. But if you can, you have the opportunity to not just help curtail a growing epidemic, but turn your donation into free local eats for the next year!

Like last time, if you donate $5 to Veggie U, you will automatically be entered to win more than $2,350 worth of gift cards to all your favorite eateries and shops. Want to increase your odds? Donate $10, $25, $50 or more. For every $5 you donate, you will earn another entry into the drawing. The more you donate, the greater your chance of winning. You have until December 23 to donate and be entered. It’s easy – just call 419.499.7500 M-F, 9a.m. – 5 p.m.; you must reference Cleveland Foodie. A winner will be picked using random.org on the 24th.

I can’t think of a city that boasts more generosity or positive goodwill to help each other out. Almost immediately after asking, area chefs and business owners quickly agreed to help the cause. I know I sound like a broken record, but we have an amazing community and I am touched by their continued generosity and willingness to always pitch in and help. Thank you to each of you for agreeing to participate.

One incredibly lucky diner will spend the year eating and drinking their way throughout Cleveland:

To kick it off, Jamie and I will donate $100 (we will not be counted for the drawing). If you’re a follower of this blog I can only assume it’s an issue that matters to you, too. Let’s follow the lead of our chefs and business owners and show what the Cleveland food community can accomplish when we work together. I hope you’ll join us by making a donation.

Thank You

10 Comments

  1. Posted December 1, 2010 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    so many good restaurants on that list! You could almost divide it up into 3 winners!

  2. Posted December 1, 2010 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Fabulous initiative…I’ll be calling in! And might I add – as a Cleveland “newbie” – I am once again blown away by how cool this city is!

  3. Posted December 1, 2010 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Holy fudge, a great cause and a fantastic prize!

  4. Posted December 1, 2010 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    still a struggle here but still better off than a lot. If I skip comic book buys for this time around I can donate 10 bucks.

    I think I probably should. Great cause and great great list.

    good job all around by all.

  5. Posted December 1, 2010 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    Wonderful cause – we will definitely be donating and spreading the good word to others :)

  6. Posted December 2, 2010 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Wonderful cause that we at ‘Holiday at the Beach – Local Market in Rocky River, OH’ would love to contribute too. A free booth would be cordially extended if interested!

  7. Bluebird88
    Posted December 2, 2010 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Wonderful cause-I will be donating.

  8. Posted December 7, 2010 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    I donated!

  9. Posted December 7, 2010 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    That is one insane drawing! Great cause..

  10. Joe Gramc
    Posted December 10, 2010 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Love both the cause and the prize. Should be a big hit.

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