Huge thanks to Kana and Jodi for the teamwork, adaptability, and passion for cooking they brought to our Cooking Matters at Home virtual classes!
During the pandemic, Solid Ground’s Community Food Education (CFE) team worked to reimagine its Cooking Matters classes to better meet people where they were: at home! During such a socially isolated time, building community through food has been even more important, so our team worked to pivot our usual in-person classes (normally held at housing sites, health clinics, and other community organizations) to a virtual format.
We tried many strategies to retain what made our in-person classes so impactful: the hands-on, interactive nature, community building atmosphere, and passion for food that staff and volunteers bring to the space. As we tried to figure out the best way to go about this, we initially didn’t have volunteer facilitators. As the class structure became more solidified, we onboarded a new cohort of volunteers to provide support during classes.
The first class series with Cooking Matters at Home volunteer facilitators started in March 2021, with Kana and Jodi working alongside staff to facilitate fun and interactive classes. They were the program’s first fearless virtual volunteers, helping the CFE team figure out how remote classes can work with volunteer support and smoothing out the kinks along the way!
Kana and Jodi are attentive to class participants’ needs and questions, and adaptable to using new technology like Zoom and Mural. They ask great open-ended questions, and their passion about food and education really shows! Not only did they step into a completely new virtual volunteer role, they also helped the team’s new Community Food Educator learn more about Cooking Matters and what a volunteer role can look like at Solid Ground.
Kana was extra prepared for class each week, even writing out her own extensive notes for that week’s talking points. She taught the class in a room with her sweet kiddos, who made some smiling cameos! Jodi often stepped up to provide technical support during class. She came each week with tasty recipes and great tips and tricks to make home cooking even better! Both brought so much enthusiasm for cooking, nutrition, grocery budgeting, gardening, food justice, and health.
Here’s a little about Kana and Jodi in their own words:
Q: What’s your favorite food to make?
Kana: Teriyaki salmon or chicken! Just put the teriyaki sauce on salmon or chicken after cooking (you can fry, grill or bake it). Make your own teriyaki sauce by boiling soy sauce, mirin (sweet sake), and sake in 1:1:1 ratio and some sugar until the sauce becomes a little thick!
Jodi: Sesame noodles with ginger sesame slaw and soy ginger poached chicken. It is good hot or cold!
Q: What’s your favorite part about volunteering?
Kana: I can learn a lot of new facts, techniques, and recipes from everybody in the class!
Jodi: I like meeting so many wonderful new people and learning new things from participants and other volunteers.
Q: What are your hobbies?
Kana: I love cooking, baking, walking and finding flowers and bugs with my children – it’s ladybug season now!
Jodi: I love cooking, baking, reading cookbooks, and walking while listening to podcasts!
Q: Tell us a fun fact about you!
Kana: I recently started gardening after learning about growing herbs in your garden at home in the Cooking Matters class! I have been growing green onions and cilantro and I am planning to plant more vegetables like tomatoes, cucumber, eggplant, and kabocha squash in the coming summer!
Jodi: I have two cats who are brother and sister. They were born a block away from where we live so we were able to first meet them when they were 2 days old. They are now almost 11!
Huge thanks to our volunteers Kana and Jodi for their adaptability, skilled facilitation, and dedication to the class and participants – we appreciate you so much!
Catch Kana and Jodi in this Butter Chickpeas cooking demo!
Questions about volunteering with Community Food Education? Contact Shana McCann at 206.694.6869 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cooking Matters at Home
Solid Ground’s Community Food Education (CFE) program hosts cooking and nutrition classes to support healthy and holistic living on a budget. The CFE team posts recipes and cooking videos to offer resources, tips, and tricks that you can practice at home. Visit our Food & Nutrition webpage for more info and resources.