Bronx Foster Parents Get a Dose of Healthy Eating Fresh from the Farm

Unique Grant Gives Family Foster Care A Taste of Farm to Table & Education


Farm to table is not just a concept practiced by chefs of the toniest Manhattan restaurants, it’s something Saint Dominic’s Home Family Foster Care Department had the opportunity to teach their foster care families in the Bronx and have them experience the benefits of fresh from the farm foods.


Through a unique grant from the Perrigo Company Charitable Foundation, the Family Foster Care Department connected with the Jones Farm in Cornwall, N.Y., where for three months -- late summer through mid-fall -- the Family Foster Care Department employees picked up weekly bags of farm fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs to share with foster families. The grant also provided resources to help educate and encourage families in the Foster Care Program about healthier eating habits and lifestyles.


For some of these inner-city children and families, access and know-how to cook vegetables and fruits for some finicky eaters are limited. With the assistance of Saint Dominic’s Home’s nutritionist, Dee Panaram at the Family Foster Care Program, discussions on nutrition and food preparation demonstrations like creating vegetable and fruit smoothies make eating their greens more palatable.


"In addition to the nutritional information, we worked with foster parents to add their own culturally creative ways to enhance the flavor,” Ms. Panaram said.


The program culminated with a field trip in which the foster children got a firsthand look at Jones Farm. The trip included a scenic hayride, animal observations, homemade (farm) lunch, farm goodie bags and a nature walk through the grounds of the farm located 50 miles north of the Bronx.


"It was our first year participating in this program and we would do it again. It was a wonderful experience for us and the children seemed to really enjoy their visit,” Doris Clearwater, owner of Jones Farm, said.