Counting on good food

Raissa Tetanish
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AMHERST - To help improve numeracy skills in Cumberland County, a local organization has created a new book focusing on locally grown foods.

Joan Beswick and Carol Oram, director and secretary-treasurer of Partnerships for Literacy and Early Development Goals, respectively, have put together Count on Good Food Grown in Atlantic Canada.
"We had done a three-year federal research study, and completed it a year ago, looking at students starting schools in Cumberland County and their skills and readiness," said Beswick, adding they also worked with teachers, completed child assessments and had extensive interviews with parents."
"What we found was that the numeracy skills for those in Cumberland County were slightly lower than other places in Nova Scotia, and even some places in Canada."
With that finding, Beswick and Oram then worked with a group of community leaders - from the school board to Maggie's Place and various health groups - to develop a community action plan.
The numeracy book with locally grown foods was part of that plan, and will be going out to families when they register their child or children for Grade Primary in schools throughout the county.
"The thrust is that it's locally grown fruits and vegetables, it's affordable and economical, and they're full of good nutrition," said Beswick.
"It's great for families with children," added Oram.
The books features 12 different fruits or vegetables. Each has its own two-page spread with a riddle and recipe easy enough for young children to lend a hand in making.
Each photo was taken on a colourful piece of wool from Deanne Fitzpatrick's rug hooking studio.
"It was difficult to choose which fruits and vegetables to use," said Beswick, noting she and Oram had also looked at veggies such as zucchini and beets.
"We chose the ones we did because it's more of what kids like and they had easy recipes," she added.
rtetanish@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: Joan Beswick and Carol Oram

Geographic location: Cumberland County, Atlantic Canada, AMHERST Nova Scotia

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