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About the Activities

There are 4-6 activities in each section. Each of these sections requires 3-6 hours, depending on the needs and interests of the program participants and the extent to which program facilitators modify the activities. The overall program is estimated to take 16-20 hours to conduct.

About each Section:

The following components run through the entire curriculum:

  • Each section begins with an ice breaker.
  • Each section focuses on a particular skill set that will enable families to develop healthy food-related purchasing, preparing and eating habits.
  • At the end of each section, families are given a "Take Out" (learn-at-home) activity. These activities are designed to enable participants to practice at home the lessons they learned in the large group sessions.
  • All activities are "hands-on" — they are designed to stimulate active discussions and generate a high level of participant involvement in directing their learning journey.

The "shared visions" theme runs through FRIDGE . The intent is to help families create a shared vision of food and family. FRIDGE activities are designed to provide a process through which family members:

  • articulate their individually held viewpoints,
  • work together to define a shared vision - one that embodies healthy eating practices
  • take initial actions toward putting that vision in practice

The "family meeting" activity (at the end of Section II) provides families with a set-aside time at home to develop, discuss, and work to adhere to such shared visions. Although the "family meeting" activity is suggested as a one¬time only activity (i.e., as a "take out" activity), families should be encouraged to conduct weekly family meetings even after the program ends. Such meetings are important tools to help families continue to develop their communication and teamwork skills and achieve their healthy eating goals.

Some of the activities in the FRIDGE curriculum can be adapted for delivery in farm- (or large community-garden-) based nutrition education settings to provide participants with opportunities to prepare new foods, taste new foods, engage in horticultural practices related to growing food, and learn about local low-cost food coops and gardening programs that provide low income families with opportunities to grow food for family consumption. The selection of FRIDGE activities, and the way they are modified for delivery in a farm setting, will depend on factors such as the capacity of the on-site educational facilities to house small and large group meetings, the type of farm (e.g., livestock, dairy, vegetable, fruit) and the nature of the produce that can be incorporated into taste¬testing and other activities, and the time of season.

If the FRIDGE program is conducted in a residential, family camp format, "take out" activities can be expanded to include multi-family conversations aimed at providing individual families with feedback and encouragement with regard to their plans to adopt healthier family communication and eating practices.

FRIDGE activities have been designed for adaptability to a variety of audiences, time configurations and settings. FRIDGE can be run as a distinct, stand-alone program, or portions of the program can be adapted for integration into other programs. Some FRIDGE activities can also be modified into "learn at home" activities for families to do on their own.

The program can be conducted in three separate days (e.g., on three consecutive Monday evenings); as a single, 2-day program; or as a series of 1 to 1-1/2 hour sessions.

Also, the ordering of the sections can be modified according to program emphasis and participants' interests. For example, the food and nutrition activities in Section 2 might be a more comfortable way to start the program for participants who are anxious about the family communication thrust of Section 1 activities. Also, the ordering of the sections can be modified according to program emphasis and participants' interests. For example, the food and nutrition activities in Section 2 might be a more comfortable way to start the program for participants who are anxious about the family communication thrust of Section 1 activities.

The FRIDGE curriculum can be conducted by organizations that emphasize nutrition education, health education, parent education, or family strengths. This includes, for example:

  • Cooperative Extension offices
  • community hospitals with outreach education programs
  • family centers
  • senior centers
  • schools with afterschool programs
  • community organizations
  • camps with family programming

Whatever the site used to launch a FRIDGE program, we recommend the involvement of one or two facilitators who between them have skills in nutrition education and family relations.