Springfield Ohio Urban Plantfolk offers a variety of cooking and nutrition classes

Central State University Extension in partnership with Springfield Ohio Urban Plantfolk (SOUP) will offer a weekly nutrition course: Eat Smart Move More beginning April 19, at Melrose Acres, 1030 McCain Ave., in Springfield.

The 6-week class, hosted on Wednesdays through May 24, will cover topics such as eating smart at home, fruit and vegetable selection, food planning and preparation, shopping, food value, and food facts and labels. Participants will receive a free kitchen item each with each class and earn a certificate of the completion at the end of the course.

“All of it is in-person and hands-on,” says Sherry Chen, founder and coordinator of SOUP. “Students will cook in the class and bring a unique flare to things like whole grains. There is something for everyone because of how we eat as a culture and what we are trying to build back in. it is focused on food preparation and nutrition.”

Alternate ingredient options will be made available to participants who have dietary

The course includes pre- and post-assessments and is being offered with partial support from the Community Health Foundation.

SOUP was awarded a 4-year, $400,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in 2020. The non-profit organization was able to expand its urban agriculture services in communities on the southside of Springfield.

With funds from the grant SOUP purchased 7.5 acres on McCain Avenue, now known as Melrose Acres. The small urban farm serves as an agriculture and education center. It includes garden and food education components for adults and children, gardening setup and assistance, farm stands, cooking classes and more. 

“(Eat Smart Move More) is information we could all use to get excited about eating more greens, more beans, more whole grains and just about cooking more,” says Chen. “We all need to get excited about it and make it a priority because we all know we need to do it, but we are having a hard time building that back into the culture. It is becoming critical because we are all eating so much junk.”

Eat Smart Move More will be every Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., April 19 through May 24. Register online at here.

SOUP will hold its annual plant sale from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., May 13 and May 20, at 2030 N. Limestone St., Springfield in the greenhouse.

SOUP will also offer additional courses at Melrose Acres this year, including Create Your Own Pottery: Garlic Crock on June 18 and July 15. Cost is $25 and is in partnership with Fireside Pottery.

The free Fast Track Farming Program is aimed at urban farming began April 6 and runs weekly through May 25. There is not cost, and the course covers topics such as crop planning, seed starting and care, irrigation, transplanting, and introduction to beekeeping.

“Our education programs are open to anyone and deal with urban agriculture issues broadly,” says Chen.

For further information on these and additional opportunities offered through Central State Extension and SOUP, contact Sherry Chen at: [email protected].
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Read more articles by Darci Jordan.

Lifelong Clark County resident Darci Jordan is a freelance writer and former staff writer/columnist for the Springfield News-Sun. She is a graduate of The Ohio State University with a bachelor of science degree in Agriculture Communications. She currently also serves as a writer for the Clark State Community College marketing department. She enjoys time with her family, horses and Ohio State football. Go Bucks!