A new program that provides local food, recipes, and encouragement for families to cook together

crEATe is a partnership between Seacoast Eat Local and Red’s Good Vibes. The program supports families to crEATe nutritious meals together while supporting local farmers and food producers in the process.

Launched in January 2022, the first two pilot sessions took place at the Mary C. Dondero Elementary School (grades K-5) in Portsmouth, NH with 100 families signing up for each session.

At each of the six drop-offs, students receive a tote bag that includes two recipes and corresponding ingredients for a family of four––eight meals in total. The first week, participants in the program also receive a pantry staples bag. The ingredients and recipes are curated to include as many local, seasonal foods as possible. In addition to the take-home bags, extra bags are also provided for the teachers to make recipes with their classes. These provide classes the opportunity to continue the conversation about food, nutrition, hunger, farms, and agriculture. 

“Thank you very much for encouraging kids to enjoy the food magic… we enjoyed the whole process of cooking… from scratch to the delicious pancake! Our weekend morning started with a delicious breakfast!! Thank you!” –Parent of students in the crEATe Program

The program’s goals are to:

  • Inspire families to cook together;
  • Increase awareness of healthy local food options;
  • Build a sense of community and togetherness among children; and
  • Attract a wider and more consistent customer base for local farms.

This project was funded in part by a grant from the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation’s Thomas W. Haas Fund. The Charitable Foundation’s contributions will enable us to purchase over $40,000 of food directly from local farmers and food producers over the course of 2022. Additional in-kind food donations have been made by Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s and Market Basket.

During childhood, it is essential to have access to nutritious foods.

This program creates an opportunity for children to make choices regarding their nutritional needs while also strengthening the bonds between school, students, and families through positive shared experiences with local and nutritious food. 

The goal is to replicate this model at other schools. Read more about the pilot sessions here.

Sample recipes:

  • Banana pancakes (recipe below)
  • Pasta with eggplant and tomato
  • Orange chicken
  • Vegetable fritters
  • Apple coleslaw
  • Fried rice
  • Vegetable bean soup
  • Cheesy potato stacks
  • Easy graham cracker toffee
  • Chocolate zucchini muffins  
  • Choose-your-own ending muffins (with dried fruit and chocolate chips)

“Such an enjoyable activity tonight with my 5th grader and 8th grader (shh, don’t tell…). I even heard, ‘we should do this once a week!’ Thank you!” –Parent of students in the crEATe Program