BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Baltimore-based nonprofit TasteWise Kids is changing the way it teaches families about food and nutrition. The mission of the non-profit is to inspire kids to explore and experience the world of food and its sources. But that became tough with the pandemic.

The organization is re-inventing its programs so teachers, principles and parents could still learn about the importance of food.

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Providing lessons online like one from a local farmer about how to make an herb planter at home and an online cooking class from Clavel’s Chef Carlos Raba.

“To help them learn where their food comes from,” said Julie Phillips.

Phillips said TasteWise’s program inspired the whole family to get involved at a time when they needed it the most.

“During this pandemic, we’re burgers and pizza and during the pandemic we were all home more, snacking and eating more, so this was a really nice time for them to roll this out and focus back on nutrition and where our food comes from,” she said.

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At Guilford Elementary School, Principal Justin FitzGerald said he was skeptical when TasteWise Kids informed them they were going to brainstorm alternatives to a field trip canceled due to COVID.

The organization decided on a socially-distanced salad kit day for students and their families. And FitzGerald said it was a complete success.

“When they put the food in their mouth and they taste the deliciousness, you see that surprise…and the next thing you know they clean their plate and they want more more,” FitzGerald said.

Now, TasteWise Kids is fundraising to do more activities and continue salad-kit day into the fall and spring semesters.

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TasteWise Kids’ annual fundraiser, Farm to Chef Maryland, is going virtual this year amid the COVID-19 pandemic and is planned for October 5, 2020. To learn more and purchase tickets, check out its website. 

Annie Rose Ramos