Fighting childhood hunger is a recurring theme on our blog, a societal issue we’re passionate about. Working hand-in-hand with our pro-social partner Share Our Strength, Food Network has parlayed its expertise and credibility in the food category to raise awareness about this issue through initiatives such as HUNGER HITS HOME and Good Food Gardens.
Food Network’s “Sandwich King” Jeff Mauro (middle) hosted the Whole Foods Market Sandwich Showdown at this year’s Festival.
We’re also passionate about celebrating food with our fans. The Food Network New York City Wine & Food Festival, held this past week in New York City, lets us do both, giving attendees the chance to see, hear, taste and smell what was cooking AND contribute to our pro-social mission. Now in its fifth year, the Festival paid homage to one of the greatest cities in the world to dine in and brought together the world’s greatest chefs, winemakers, spirits producers and personalities to educate palates and entertain guests.
The Festival also attracted some of America’s most beloved television chefs, including many of the familiar faces seen on Food Network and Cooking Channel. Rachael Ray, Sandra Lee, Bobby Flay, Guy Fieri and Alton Brown were just a few of the many personalities who stopped by to engage with patrons. From red carpets to red velvet cake and everything in between, our food lifestyle brands whet the star-gazing appetites of foodies in every nook and cranny of the Festival.
Most important, the greatest impact of this year’s event will be felt by those who need it the most. All event proceeds go toward the hunger-relief programs for Share Our Strength and the Food Bank for New York City, which fights hunger in NYC’s five boroughs. Last year’s event raised more than $1.2 million; we’re hoping this year’s event bests that number to further help close the gap on hunger in our country!
Boys & Girls Club members in St. Paul, Minn. showcase their produce.
We received a great update recently on the Good Food Gardens in St. Paul, Minnesota. Food Network has created more than 30 Good Food Gardens across the country, most recently building 10 in partnership with Comcast and Boys and Girls Clubs. The goal is to teach children the origins of food and encourage them to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. Click here for more information on the program.
From Andrew Jones, area director for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities: “Our K3 program here at the club has adopted the garden with open arms. This group of kindergarten through 3rd graders has taken it upon themselves to harvest, clean, and help serve the vegetables as part of there regular program throughout the week. We did lose the tomatoes due to the cold weather following the planting but everything else is flourishing.”
Ready to serve: results from the Good Food Gardens in St. Paul.
I recently learned about another inspiring gardening program for kids. Bonnie Plants, one of the nation’s largest plant wholesalers, distributes free cabbage plants to third graders across the country. Their goal is to foster an interest in gardening and the environment. Cabbages are delivered to students whose teachers have signed up to participate. Every student in these third grade classes gets their very own cabbage to plant, take care of and harvest. These cabbage produce oversized heads, making the process even more exciting for kids (check out the size of these cabbage!). As part of the program, Bonnie gives a $1,000 prize to one student in each state. Here’s more on the Bonnie Plants program, now in its 9th year.