by Heather Pitre, WHF Events and Communications Specialist
The Cocina Sana program, part of Community to Community Development in Bellingham, WA, is being replicated in Hereford, Texas as Cocinas Culturales. Lydia Villanueva, director of C.A.S.A. del Llano, Inc., worked with Rosalinda Guillen, director of Community to Community Development, to replicate the program in Texas. Cocinas Culturales incorporates the use of non-traditional foods in culturally traditional kitchens while extending the knowledge of the basic principles of nutrition and health, and introducing exercise as a key element in a healthy lifestyle.
Lydia states, "We are very grateful for you and your organization in allowing our organization to model this very important program. In sharing our ideas and efforts we can help expand this movement of helping our people gain knowledge and help empower them to become leaders in their own communities and help them make healthier choices for themselves and their children. Thank you!"
Hereford, Texas has a population of 18,000 and is 75% Latino. The community is facing the health problems of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity in children, and is educating women leaders to cook healthy foods and lead healthy lifestyles, and to take their knowledge out into the community by hosting meetings in their kitchens. C.A.S.A. del Llano, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit rural outreach facility that focuses on community empowerment. The organization provides language classes, a resource library, a Hispanic Women's Group, summer youth outreach program, and many other services. The Casa Culturales program targets children ages 6-12 who can benefit from healthy eating, and is using the "Happy Kitchen/Cocina Alegre" curriculum developed by the Sustainable Food Center in Austin, Texas.
We at the Washington Health Foundation were proud to learn about this collaboration, and that the Cocina Sana program, partly funded by WHF, was being replicated in another part of the country. Katharine Sanders, director of rural programs for WHF, stated, "WHF investments are paying dividends."
Congratulations to those developing the Cocinas Culturales program! Good luck and good eating!