At DC Central Kitchen, we pride ourselves in providing open-source, easily scalable programming (i.e. Healthy Corners and our Culinary Job Training program). The Nutrition Educator Summit served as a collaborative effort between DC Central Kitchen and other organizations across the District to not only share best practices and resources, but also to coordinate efforts and identify city-wide priorities for collective action.
The Summit was designed for on-the-ground educators, aiming to create a community of practice across the surprisingly large network of nutrition educators in Washington, DC. Many attendees noted they had no idea so many groups were working in nutrition education in the District. Though it’s common to find a few organizations doing similar work in smaller group settings, it was remarkable to see so many educators come together around a common goal. Sessions throughout the two-day summit (including those called “Power of Collaboration,” “Defining Collective Outcomes,” and “Enhancing Your Programs through Partnerships”) encouraged groups to find common ground and, hopefully, achieve higher impact.
When asked how the Summit impacted their approach to nutrition education in DC, participants had a lot to say. 72% of participants surveyed said the work sessions were highly effective in helping them learn about other organizations, build relationships, and identify opportunities for partnerships; 78% plan to take action based on their experiences at the Summit. And the Summit itself is just the beginning – conversations will continue across various working groups and the DC Food Policy Council to ensure the priorities identified by attendees have actionable follow-up.
DC Central Kitchen hosted the Summit in collaboration with the University of the District of Columbia’s College of Agriculture, Urban Sustainability, and Environmental Sciences, and with critical support from the Planning Committee, comprised of members from Capital Area Food Bank, CentroNia, Children’s National Health System, Common Threads, DC Central Kitchen, Mary’s Center, and the YMCA. The Summit was sponsored by the Bainum Family Foundation, who also presented their Food Learning Locator, a free one-stop resource for finding more than 100 food-related education and job-training programs and organizations throughout Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia.