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Health & Wellness

Community Food Security & Nutrition

Central to our vision to serve as a community wellness and food hub, our Neighborhood Fresh Farm Shop & Café will provide fresh food access, farm produce and nutritious meals to our food-insecure community. Intentionally located adjacent to our Community Health Center and Community Gardens, the Neighborhood Fresh Farm Shop & Café will reverse decades of food insecurity by providing an opportunity for families and neighbors to access fresh produce and healthy ingredients.

Produce from our on-site three-acre farm, honey from our hives, fruits from our orchards and vegetables from our greenhouses grown above and beyond what is required for healthy student meals will be sold at affordable prices to the community through the Community Fresh Foods Shop & Farm Café, a small neighborhood-run social enterprise, as a means of generating additional revenue to enable financially sustainable operations and to support community nutrition and wellness programming. Healthy meal kits, nutritiously prepared foods, and ample produce will be available for families and community members who currently live in a food desert. Regional farmers and local business owners will also have opportunities to sell their produce and products on-site, providing economic opportunities for community members.

Community Health Care

In partnership with Esperanza Health Centers, an on-site Federally Qualified Health Center will provide care for the whole community, with an emphasis on supporting un- or under-insured groups with a Patient-Centered Medical Home approach.  The staff will include a family physician, family nurse practitioner, nurse midwife, licensed clinical social worker and care coordinator.  Mental and physical health services will be provided to children, families and to the broader community, regardless of their ability to pay.  The clinic will also ensure that every child and adult, including those who are undocumented, has access to health care in a community that is significantly medically underserved by 46% and currently not meeting the needs of 48,457 individuals.

The clinic will increase contraceptive access, improve reproductive health, provide critically needed mental health services, reduce hospitalization by providing primary care services before there is an emergency room need, and will implement programs, strategies and care that will directly reduce HIV infection.  Programming will also include community wellness classes, nutrition workshops, cooking classes, gardening and a “Food Rx” strategy that will prescribe and provide fresh produce boxes to individuals experiencing food insecurity and diet-related illness and disease.

Community Teaching Kitchen

In addition to providing physical and behavioral health care, food access and nutrition education is integral to our integrative strategy to support community health. Located in the Main Dining Hall, a central Community Teaching Kitchen is being designed for both children and families to participate in hands-on culinary training to increase knowledge of how to prepare nutritious meals at home with the fresh produce they can access through the Neighborhood Fresh Farm Shop & Café.

The Community Teaching Kitchen will build upon the lessons taught to children in their early childhood through 8th grade Teaching Kitchens that have been developmentally designed for teaching skills at these levels throughout the campus. The Community Teaching Kitchen will provide an opportunity for community members and families learn how to prepare simple, healthy, delicious, and affordable meals. The Community Teaching Kitchen Stations will double as service stations that will be used to serve approximately 2,250 meals to children, staff, and visitors daily.

The Future of Food: A National Model for Plant-Based Nutrition

The Academy for Global Citizenship has been implementing a national model for integrating wellness practices, nutrition education, and healthy food into our public school since 2008. We are now significantly expanding the scope and scale of our approach through the construction of a six-acre community wellness hub that will also include a shift to a whole-foods, plant-based, “food as medicine” school food program. Our program is being designed to center upon four pillars:

  • Demonstrating optimal nutrition

  • Modeling a humane food system

  • Showcasing sustainability

  • Ensuring cultural relevance and resonance

In addition to relying upon guidance among pediatric and plant-based nutrition experts to inform our approach to serving our 96% minority population, we are equally committed to decisions that underscore our values around animal welfare and planetary impact.  Cultivate Chicago's vision is to serve as a national model for integrating healthy and sustainable plant-based meals into schools across America in addition to extending these practices and resources to our broader community, while at the same time, evaluating, codifying, and disseminating our innovation.

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