Food and nutrition journalist/activist Toni Tipton-Martin founded the Austin-based SANDE Youth Project — Spirit, Attitude, Nutrition, Deeds and Effort — four years ago as a nonprofit organization meant to promote the connection between cultural heritage, food and health. She was also recently invited to The White House to celebrate the third anniversary of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Faith and Communities initiative and was recently featured in the Austin Chronicle.
The project’s partnership with the University of Texas Division of Diversity and Community Engagement and other organizations have aided its mission to increase awareness about African Americans’ rich culinary and cultural heritage while teach basic cooking skills and nutrition to at-risk youth and their families.
On Sunday, SANDE, Edible Austin, and the Children’s Environmental Health Institute will partner to present the free Children’s Picnic and Real Food Fair at the French Legation Museum, 802 San Marcos Street, from 1 to 5. It will include:
- City Proclamation Ceremony: A City Proclamation Ceremony will take place at 2:30 on the front porch of the French Legation house, which stands as a reminder of life in the Republic of Texas era.
- Featured speaker: Olympic gold medalist Garrett Weber-Gale will encourage attendees to take charge of their health with the inspiring story of his triumph over high-blood pressure, immediately following the Proclamation Ceremony.
- Chef demos: Culinary students from local schools, including the Institute of Hospitality and Culinary Arts at AISD’s Travis High and the Natural Epicurean Academy of Culinary Arts, will show families easy-to-make snacks and meals.
- Gardening activities: Interactive activities will include “Create Your Own Square-foot Garden,” which will allow participants to plant a portable garden to take home; a “Find that Plant” scavenger hunt on the grounds; plus opportunities to talk to farmers and gardening experts about growing your own food.
- Food and wellness education: There will be opportunities to meet representatives from Austin-area nonprofits and other wellness experts to learn about local food and wellness programs and discover volunteer opportunities.
- Bonus event: At 5:30 p.m. picnic-goers will pack up and may move to the theater at the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center, 1165 Angelina St., for a special showing of the film, Locavore: Local diet, Healthy Planet, an uplifting look at the benefits to health and the community when we grow and eat our own food.