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Food Demonstration with Julie and Michael Tracy Family Foundation

Posted by Ron Wolford -

It has been a rainy couple of days in Chicago, and today we managed to avoid working outside. We did not, however, manage to avoid being fed! Today we were able to see how education, cooking, and gardening can be combined to create a satisfying meal.

We arrived at our destination within University Village, just a short walk from our dorm room. The Julie and Michael Tracy Family Foundation has purchased and refurnished a home so that high-functioning autistic young men can live almost independently there with little assistance. The four-bedroom home had plenty of space to live and work, as well as space for the young men to hang out with volunteers and staff who come to spend time with them. The home has a spacious kitchen, which we used for the food demonstration.

We were able to observe one of the aides instructing the "students" on how to make their own pizza. The objective of this food demonstration and the others that follow it, is to encourage these young men to make healthy food for themselves, using simple recipes and fresh ingredients. Our pizza today consisted of pizza crust, sauce, cheese (and lots of it!), tomatoes, onion, and green peppers. The students did a great job of following directions and enjoyed their final product.

We were also able to incorporate a part of the Growing Solutions Farm, the local food garden that the autistic youth work in during the week. Julie had harvested some Swiss chard that we were able to cook in olive oil with other vegetables and eat as a side of our delicious pizza. Seeing the product of their hard work finally make it to their dinner plates was satisfying for the Julie and Michael Tracy Family Foundation beneficiaries, and we look forward to seeing more of the locally grown food at their tables!

Ilana and Shelby


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