Serving Up Equitable Nutrition Education with Newport High School

A hand written recipe for baking an apple crisp.

Over the course of six weeks between January to March 2023, Katie Black, a nutrition educator with UVM Extensions Community Nutrition Education program, launched a collaboration with North Country Supervisory Unions (NCSU) Community Schools Coordinator Samantha Stevens, and Carrie Lucas, North Country Union High School (NCUHS) special educator. The program is expanding social justice and equity in the Newport, VT region.

Two people are standing around a butcher block table in a kitchen observing cooking ingredients being mixed.
Katie Black and a student watching while ingredients from a recipe were mixed together. Photo credit: Maire Folan.

Black provided a free nutrition and culinary education series to NCUHS life skills students, using the newly establishes NCSU Family Resource Center, funded through Act 67. The Family Resource Center supports learning opportunities for students and community members, and addresses employment, financial literacy, positive psychology, and skill development.

The goal of this collaboration was to enhance equitable access to education, hands-on practice, and knowledge transfer to promote confidence and agency in students preparation for independent living after high school. Staff at the Family Resource Center adapted Extensions educational materials to meet students needs. This included recipe booklets with picture-based directions and ingredient lists, as well as adaptive kitchen equipment to make learning more accessible.

A close up of two people adding ingredients to an oatmeal bar recipe in a pan.
Adding ingredients to a pan of oatmeal bars. Photo credit: Maire Folan.

Black delivered adaptive programing to students ages 15 to 18 who demonstrate a range of ability and social/sensory preferences. Over the six weeks students learned measuring and knife skills, food safety, ways to make healthy choices, and nutritious recipes they could make on their own at home.

This successful collaboration demonstrates a commitment to dismantling barriers for addressing equity and social justice, through Extension programming in low-resourced and rural regions of Vermont. Extensions Community Nutrition Education staff are honored to work in support of building equitable learning environments to support a more fair and inclusive community

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