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January 2, 2008  • 

Brainfood is a non-profit youth development organization based in Washington, DC. A community presence in the Columbia Heights neighborhood for several years, a second Brainfood site was established in the Chinatown neighborhood in the fall of 2007.

Using food as a tool, Brainfood builds life skills and promotes healthy living in a fun and safe environment. Local high school students participate in programs either twice a week after school or every day for five weeks during the summer. Activities include hands-on cooking classes, lectures, field trips and community service projects. Brainfood graduates are equipped with practical cooking skills, an introduction to the food industry, a framework for nutritious eating, and leadership experience that prepares them to make a difference in their community.

Cooking Classes
Cooking classes are the cornerstone of Brainfood’s programs. Students learn cooking techniques and vocabulary through hands-on, interactive lessons. Brainfood emphasizes practical skills, kitchen safety, nutrition and creativity while teaching students to cook a variety of foods.

Brainfood brings in a range of guest lecturers, including doctors on nutrition, farmers on growing food, and professional chefs on cooking and the restaurant business. Regular lectures are interactive and focus on practical kitchen skills, nutrition, the food industry and the science of food and cooking.

Field Trips
Brainfood students get out of the kitchen and into the community, where they sample dishes from downtown restaurants, check out edible plants at local gardens, shop for their own ingredients at supermarkets and volunteer at a number of community organizations.

Community Service Projects
Brainfood students volunteer with local agencies that provide food and food education to underserved populations in the Washington, DC area. By working with local organizations, students serve their community and gain real-life work experience.

Visit Brainfood’s website to learn more about their curriculum, special events such as the Brainfood Grill-Off and Brainfood Open Kitchen Nights as well as for more information about starting a Brainfood program in your community.