BRADENTON, Fla. — Realize Bradenton has joined forces with Florida Blue and Mosaic to create Cook Together Bradenton, a new Millennial-led initiative to increase access to and use of healthy, fresh produce in Bradenton residents’ everyday lives. The initiative was created in advance of the upcoming 2016 Giving Challenge.
Cook Together Bradenton will bring local chefs, foodies, families and Millennials from neighborhoods throughout Bradenton to the Bradenton Farmers’ Market and Bradenton area chef-owned restaurants to shop for fresh, locally grown produce and learn easy, delicious ways to prepare it themselves through demonstrations by local chefs.
The 2016 Giving Challenge is a regional giving-event held from noon on Tuesday, September 20, through noon on Wednesday, September 21. Donors can support Cook Together Bradenton by searching for “Realize Bradenton” and making a secure donation online during those 24 hours at www.GivingPartnerChallenge.org
As an added incentive, all donations given to Realize Bradenton through the Giving Challenge will be doubled, quadrupled, or more thanks to matching funds from The Patterson Foundation, as well as Florida Blue and Mosaic. (See attached fact sheet). Donations will be used to teach simple and tasty ways to prepare fresh, local produce through engaging Cook Together videos for social media and purchase supplies to continue to enhance in-person demonstrations.
“I want to see the momentum generated by Realize Bradenton’s Millennial-focused Pop-Ups for a Purpose project continue. Creating a project led by Millennials and involving people of all ages is a natural extension of that work,” said Annie Breitinger, attorney at Blalock Walters, Attorneys at Law and Realize Bradenton board member. “We know that Millennials love local, healthy food and care deeply about community. Since food brings people together, we can accomplish multiple goals through Cook Together. We can further build the Bradenton culinary scene, as well as promote healthy-food access and meal preparation using local produce from the Bradenton Farmers’ Market.”
The Bradenton Farmers’ Market is one of the 75 annual events that Realize Bradenton produces through community partnerships. “Mosaic has been the presenting sponsor for the downtown Bradenton Farmers’ Market for five years. Each Saturday, 2000 people benefit from locally-grown produce, artisan food products, and good old fashioned fellowship,” said Walt Precourt, Mosaic’s senior vice president of phosphates. “The new Cook Together program attracts more children and families from across the community to the market where food access remains a top priority for both Mosaic.”
“Realize Bradenton is connecting the dots for greater community impact,” said Executive Director Johnette Isham. Those dots, according to Isham, are local chefs serving as mentors, food enthusiasts of all ages, and residents in neighborhoods without access to fresh and healthy food (known as food deserts).
“I think it’s a remarkable opportunity to respond to a community need,” Isham added. “Last year the Department of Health in Manatee County surveyed neighborhood residents in ‘food deserts,’ and one of their priority items was healthy cooking and meal planning classes. Since Realize Bradenton believes that downtown Bradenton is everyone’s neighborhood, the Farmers’ Market and local chefs’ restaurants provide places for people to connect with neighbors.”
“At Florida Blue, our mission is help people and communities achieve better health, and healthy eating is an essential component of healthy living,” said Michelle Hamilton, Florida Blue regional community engagement specialist. “It’s important for communities to not only have access to fresh produce but also learn healthy, enjoyable ways to prepare it. We applaud the Cook Together initiative’s dedication to create engaging, innovative ways to encourage healthy eating while bringing the community together.”
Realize Bradenton encourages everyone to participate in the upcoming Giving Challenge, which has provided more than $15 million in unrestricted funding since 2012 to 550 nonprofits serving Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto counties.
Realize Bradenton is a nonprofit organization that brings people together to create a vibrant and prosperous Bradenton area. Working in three areas – marketing downtown, producing events, and civic engagement projects – Realize Bradenton efforts attract 100,000 people to downtown, generating $2,785,000 in economic impact each year. Thanks to an amazing team of five staff, 16 corporate supporters, more than 300 volunteers, and many community partners, Realize Bradenton was recognized as the 2016 Nonprofit Small Business of the Year by the Manatee Chamber, the first time this award was ever given to a nonprofit.
For more information, visit: RealizeBradenton.com.
Florida Blue, Florida’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield Company, is a leader in Florida’s health care industry. Our mission is to help people and communities achieve better health. Florida Blue has approximately 5 million health care members and serves 15.5 million people in 16 states through its affiliated companies. Headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., it is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. For more information, visit FloridaBlue.com.
The Mosaic Company is the world’s leading producer and marketer of concentrated phosphate and potash, two essential crop nutrients. Driven by its mission to help the world grow the food it needs, Mosaic is committed to strengthening global food security and protecting critical water resources. The Mosaic Company and The Mosaic Company Foundation make investments in and partner with best-of-class leaders in the focus areas of food, water and local community investments. More information about Mosaic is available at MosaicCo.com.