Shopping Matters

Can a family of four eat a healthy meal for $10 or less? If your answer was no, think again! This is what our Teens for Food Justice teens learned for themselves at Service Day 4 on Saturday, February 8th in Bed-Stuy.


Our morning began with a trek around the corner to the local Food Bazaar supermarket for a Shopping Matters training. Shopping Matters is an initiative of No Kid Hungry Share Our Strength that helps families learn to shop for healthy food on a budget in order to cook meals at home. Although this program is usually geared toward adult shoppers, our six mentors, who first received the training, led the teens in learning wise and healthy shopping techniques such as:

  • Reading nutrition facts and ingredient labels to select the most nutritious and healthful items
  • Comparing unit prices to find the least expensive of the healthy options
  • Evaluating seasonality of produce and when frozen or canned might be a better option
  • Decoding misleading packaging
  • Making healthy snack choices
  • Understanding Recommended Daily Allowances and their health impacts of these
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$10 Healthy Shopping Challenge — A Big Bang for a Few Bucks and a Bonanza for New Beginnings Families

After the training, the teens were challenged to apply their new knowledge. They worked in small teams to plan the healthiest possible meal for a family of four within a $10 budget. The results? New Beginnings Charter School and the Teens for Food Justice team kicked off this week by donating a grocery bag of ingredients for 6 complete meals to New Beginnings food-insecure families. Meals were both creative and healthy. For example: pineapple brown fried rice with eggs and a glass of milk and hearty Chicken Noodle Soup with oranges for dessert.

What’s New in the Greenhouse

February was a growing month for our new batch of seedlings, which will reach maturity for our March harvest. In the meantime, our greenhouse system has welcomed some busy newcomers: ladybugs and worms! The ladybugs serve as an organic “integrated pest management system,” keeping our harvest healthy by eating aphids that prey on our crops. The worms are our composting system: they break down food scraps in the boxes we prepared for them in December, turning them into compost that we can donate to a local community garden.

Coming Next: Shopping, Cooking, and Eating Well with the Community

Next month, the volunteers become the experts: they will set up mock supermarket aisles and conduct a Shopping Matters training for New Beginnings Charter School children and parents. The team created and illustrated signs and materials designed to recreate the supermarket experience for our school families, and they brainstormed effective strategies for engaging adults and kids in this informative and fun experience.

The team will also work with a community chef, who will conduct a cooking demo of healthy affordable recipes incorporating produce from our farm and distribute tastings and nutrition information for our crops to the community.

At the end of the day, a group of New Beginnings families will go home armed with tools for smart and cost-effective shopping, recipes and experience for cooking new foods, and a grocery bag with which to prepare them.

Empowering Teens Feeding Communities Building a Healthy Sustainable Future