MENUS OF CHANGE BREAKOUT SESSION B3 JUNE 18, 2015 THE MELTING POT: HONORING AND ELEVATING LOCAL FOOD CULTURES WORLDWIDE

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1 MENUS OF CHANGE BREAKOUT SESSION B3 JUNE 18, 2015 THE MELTING POT: HONORING AND ELEVATING LOCAL FOOD CULTURES WORLDWIDE

2 NEVER RAN. NEVER WILL BROWNSVILLE, BROOKLYN- AN EDUCATION IN SURVIVAL

3 PUBLIC HEALTH CRISIS Violent crime rates in Brownsville are amongst the highest in NYC, featuring the highest homicide rate of any neighborhood. According to the NYC office of vital statistics, in 2012, Brownsville had the highest death rates from all causes, the highest cancer rates, the highest rates of heart disease and hypertension, and the highest rate of diabetes in any neighborhood, nearly 10 times that of Murray Hill, a more affluent area. 22% - of Brownsville residents report eating no fruits and/or vegetables on a daily basis, with only 1 in 20 reporting consumption of at least half of the recommended daily servings.

4 SCANT RESOURCES Over 1/3 of Brownsville residents live in poverty on less than $15,000 a year, even when accounting for social benefits. 55% of Brownsville residents receive one or more forms of public assistancez. Almost sigty percent of the housing stock in Brownsville is city owned, making the neighborhood home to the highest concentration of public housing in North America Brownsville has the lowest rates of high school graduation in NYC, and the fewest residents with advanced degrees.

5 7.4% NEW YORK C 13.45% BROWNSWILL UNEMPLOYMENT

6 A PUSH FOR PROGRESS Since receiving an official diagnosis as a food desert by the FDA in 2008, a number of organizations have been working to address the lack of access to and consumption of healthy foods in Brownsville. The Isabahlia Ladies of Elegance Foundation operates four community gardens in Brownsville and works with residents to create healthy diets through cooking demonstrations operated by Brownsville residents. GrowNYC and its Greenmarket Co. have established farmers markets operated by local youth and stands in a variety of bodegas and grocery stores selling fresh produce at below-market prices.

7 GROWING PAINS Despite these and other measures, public health has demonstrably worsened since 2008, with diabetes and heart disease rates on a steady increase. Organizations report difficulty in distributing fresh produce, as many residents are unfamiliar with the products themselves, or lack the time, knowledge, and resources to prepare such foods at home. A consensus is emerging among organizations working in the neighborhood that factors beyond access to healthy foods need to be addressed to improve the diets of Brownsville residents in enduring, sustainable ways.

8 THE MELTING POT WHO WE ARE The Melting Pot is a Danish not-for-profit organization founded by chef Claus Meyer in 2011 with the mission of spreading social uplift through the culinary arts and traditions. From the prisons of Denmark to the ghettos of Bolivia, The Melting Pot has successfully worked with at-risk communities to build solidarity through the celebration of local cuisine while providing marketable skills for their most vulnerable members.

9 OUR APPROACH We believe that the residents of Brownsville are uniquely qualified to inform and guide efforts to enhance the nutritional profile of their neighborhood.

10 OUR APPROACH We are developing a program by which we can incorporate this guidance into an educational institution that will benefit Brownsville by making use of its most valuable resource its people.

11 OUR PARTNERS - ISABAHLIA LADIES OF ELEGANCE Isbahlia Ladies of Elegance, founded by Brownsville resident Brenda Duchene, pictured right, recipient of the 2012 Presidential Volunteer Service Award for her work in the neighborhood, is the main force from within Brownsville promoting healthy eating habits. Her organization operates four community gardens, a weekly farmer s market, and a series of cooking demonstrations designed to familiarize residents with healthy foods and the means to prepare them.

12 MADE IN BROWNSVILLE Made In Brownsville, founded by Brownsville resident and graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Design Quardean Lewis-Allen, has assembled a team of researchers to analyze the urban dynamics of Brownsville and create youth-powered design solutions for Brownsville. Here, Melting Pot Project Manager Lucas Denton, pictured left, works with MiB team members to produce t-shirts at their pop-up shop in Brownsville.

13 BROWNSVILLE COMMUNITY JUSTICE CENTER The Brownsville Community Justice Center employs at-risk youth in a variety of programs that build to community solidarity in Brownsville and provide young people with community building skills and experience.

14 OUR WORK THUS FAR In August of 2014, Project Manager Lucas Denton established relationships with these key organizations with the aim of conceptualizing a project in which The Melting Pot and Mr. Meyer could combine resources and knowledge with the people of Brownsville to fulfill The Melting Pot s mission of promoting cultural uplift through the culinary arts. To achieve this, Mr. Denton has worked closely with the Made in Brownsville team s Health Impact Assessment project to gauge community attitudes toward food and food access and ascertain areas of the neighborhood where intervention is most needed. In collaboration with Mrs. Duchene, Mr. Denton has developed an organizational structure by which this intervention can be most successfully fulfilled. Working with the Brownsville Community Justice Center, The Melting Pot is developing a community organizing strategy to engage the Brownsville community at large in a grassroots effort to change the community s relationship to food.

15 THE MELTING POT COMMUNITY CULINARY CENTER - BROWNSVILLE S VISION FOR CHANGE There are three components to the project, all to be housed in one location.

16 1. The Student Chef Program 2. The Community Café Program 3. The Community Education Center

17 THE STUDENT CHEF PROGRAM The Student Chef Program consists of advanced culinary training as well as restaurant management training and will be conducted through collaborative project-based exercises in culinary entrepreneurship facilitated through the Community Café and the Community Education Center.

18 THE STUDENT CHEF PROGRAM Student selection will begin in July of students, aged 18-24, will be selected from existing youth empowerment programs on the strength of skill, prior achievement, recommendations, and willingness to embrace the community-oriented ideals of the program. All students will participate in a 3-month basic culinary training program beginning in October, 2015, before matriculating into either the Student Chef Program or the Community Café program.

19 COMMUNITY CAFÉ PROGRAM The Community Café will offer low-cost meals developed in collaboration with instructors and Students Chefs. The focus of the Student Chef program will be to remix soul food, preparing traditional diasporic foods with an emphasis on healthiness and providing them to the community through the café. Additionally, the café will offer a variety of healthy, delicious foods, providing Brownsville with a new variety of culinary options.

20 COMMUNITY CAFÉ PROGRAM Upon entering the café, patrons will be greeted by offerings of bread baked on premises and fresh produce, as well as readyto-cook meals prepared by students, all available for purchase with food stamps and at prices reflecting cost only. Students in the Community Café program will develop skills in the kitchen and the front of the house as line cooks, prep cooks, house managers, servers, and bussers, with opportunities to enter an advanced hospitality course.

21 THE COMMUNITY EDUCATION CENTER The Community Education Center offers classroom space equipped with culinary demonstration facilities. Cooking demonstrations will be provided for the community in collaboration with resident advisors. The Community Education Center will also be an outlet for student chefs to work with the community to deliver healthy meals that satisfy the tastebuds, lifestyles, and financial needs of Brownsville residents.

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