Detroit Food Academy offers holiday gift boxes to support culinary arts programs

Cooking is as sensory an experience as they come. The tastes, smells, sights, and touch, even the satisfying sounds of a slice or a crunch, can be invigorating.

It might be difficult then for an organization like Detroit Food Academy to continue its curriculum, a curriculum forced online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The nonprofit organization teaches the culinary arts to Detroit youth ranging in ages from 10 to 24 years old, using cooking as a means of economic mobility and health and wellness education.

But Detroit Food Academy has pressed on, cooking with their students online rather than in-person. The organization says that the shift has led to more virtual panels and question-and-answer sessions with industry experts, and virtual business tours, to complement its online-for-now cooking classes.

To help support its entrepreneurial programming, DFA has launched the holiday gift box program Small Batch Big Change Gourmet Gift Boxes.

"In these uncertain times, community support is more important than ever to build financial resilience and ensure DFA's lasting presence and impact on the lives of young Detroiters," says Jen Rusciano, executive director of Detroit Food Academy.

"Each purchase directly supports youth programming and employment while building a critical component of our pathway, supporting Detroit youth with hands-on experience and training to launch their careers."

Each gift box contains five Mitten Bites, a nutritious snack bar, and a jar of Slow Jams, a brand of locally sourced jams and jellies. Custom combinations are available for larger orders.

Money raised from the Small Batch Big Change offer will support employment and career opportunities for the DFA high school students and alumni, which start at $15 per hour and can reach $18 per hour. Opportunities also include access to workshops and industry certifications.

Mitten Bites and Slow Jams are offered via Small Batch Detroit, a DFA-affiliated social enterprise.

Visit Detroit Food Academy or Small Batch Detroit online for information on how to order.

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MJ Galbraith is Model D's development news editor. Follow him on Twitter @mikegalbraith.
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