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When is the best day to make and eat food? On world food day! World food day happened to fall on Thursday, October 16 this year and this day was the perfect day for the Food Resources and Education for Student Health (FRESH) program to educate fellow students on healthy alternatives. When I first heard about the FRESH program I thought: what is FRESH exactly? After some research and a word with some Brescia students in FRESH I learned more about this wonderful program.

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(above) Anne Zok,  FRESH co-advisor and nutrition manager at UWO

     FRESH was originally created by a master’s student at Brescia University College as a part of the food and nutritional sciences program. Later, FRESH was incorporated into Western Hospitality Services. FRESH was created to promote a healthy diet around campus: “[it] was established as a multi-strategy peer nutrition education program…. Strategies included awareness building and information dissemination as well as improvements to the campus food and nutrition environment.”[1] FRESH usually hosts events at residence, but Anne Zok, FRESH co-advisor and nutrition manager at UWO, decided world food day was a great day to host an event at the UCC for the first time.

In the food court of the UCC were two tables set up by FRESH. One table had a poster display and a pachinko board for students to interactively learn about the program. The other table had students from Brescia coaching other students how to cook healthy recipes. There was also an abundance of fresh, appetizing vegetables and grains for the students to use. Anne Zok said that it was tough to attract students at first, but eventually more and more students who saw the crowd around the tables gathered.

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     What caught my attention was the pachinko board because I was sitting right next to it. I approached the table and was greeted by Brescia students in the program. They were giving away free Frisbees as well as business cards with information about FRESH’s social media accounts. In order to win a Frisbee, I had to answer a trivia question based on whatever category the disc in the pachinko landed on. The category I got was physical activity and the question I received was: “True or false: physical activity makes you healthier.” Even though the question was obvious, I thought that this was a fun way for students to feel more involved and interact with the students in the FRESH program. Plus, there’s nothing wrong with a free Frisbee!

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What’s better than a free Frisbee? Why, free food of course! When I approached the other table there were lovely Brescia students coaching other students on how to make stir fry. The tasty-looking vegetables made me want some of the stir fry that a student was making, but I was here to interview and learn about the program so I had to focus. Anne Zok said that they will continue going to residences to teach students about the importance of healthy food and recipes for healthy alternatives to eat and that FRESH may consider coming to main campus again in the future.

Check out their website!

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[1] Matthews, June I., Anne V. Zok, Emily P.M. Quenneville, and Paula D.N. Dworatzek. “Development and Implementation of FRESH–a Post-secondary Nutrition Education Program Incorporating Population Strategies, Experiential Learning and Intersectoral Partnerships.” Canadian Public Health Association Vol 105.04 (2014): n. pag. National Center for Biotechnology Information. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 11 July 2014. Web. 18 Oct. 2014.


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