Local FRESH program goes global at United Nations Conference in New York

News Release
August 14, 2014

London, ON – As a member of the International Federation for Home Economics (IFHE), Dr. June Matthews from Brescia University College has been invited to present a workshop on the FRESH program at the United Nations DPI/NGO Conference in New York, August 27-29.

IFHE holds Special Consultative Status with the UN Economic and Social Council. Its members were invited to submit proposals related to conference themes. In a global competition, the FRESH proposal was one of only five selected for IFHE’s contribution to the conference.

Organized by the UN Department of Information (DPI), the conference provides an opportunity for civil society, including non-governmental organizations (NGO), to provide input into creating Sustainable Development Goals for 2015 and beyond. The final Conference Declaration will inform discussions at the UN regarding the adoption of a post-2015 agenda.

FRESH (Food Resources and Education for Student Health) is a multi-strategy, peer nutrition education program created by and for university students under the supervision of Dr. Matthews and Dr. Paula Dworatzek, Associate Professors in the Division of Foods and Nutritional Sciences  at Brescia, and Ms. Anne Zok, Nutrition Manager for Hospitality Services at Western University. The peer education component, FRESH ED, addresses several Sustainable Development Goals, including food security, health and well-being, education, and sustainable production and consumption.

“Food waste represents one-half to one-third of global food production and contributes about 14% to global CO2 emissions. In Canada, more than 50% of food waste occurs at home and 18-24 year-olds waste more food than those over 55. Thus, enhancing food literacy among youth can support the health of the next generation of families AND address global concerns,” says Dr. Matthews.

Many university students lack food skills, but want to learn through programs delivered by their peers. “Requests for our FRESH interactive cooking demonstrations increase every year,” says Ms. Zok. “Teaching young people how to buy appropriate amounts of food, plan and cook healthy meals, store food safely, and use leftovers can benefit both them and the planet.”

Dr. Paula Dworatzek explains, “Peer education is a very successful health promotion strategy, as people relate to others who are similar in age or experiences. Graduate and undergraduate Food and Nutrition students involved with our FRESH program also develop important personal and professional skills as they manage, co-ordinate, plan, implement, and evaluate FRESH activities. Achieving global health requires a competent health promotion and health education workforce.”

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 For more information please contact:

Sheila Blagrave, Director of Communications, Marketing & External Relations Officer at 519.432.8353, ext.28293 or at sblagrav@uwo.ca.

Dr. June Matthews, Associate Professor, Food and Nutritional Sciences at 519.432.8353 ext. 28004 or at jmatth22@uwo.ca.  

Brescia University College, Canada’s only women’s university, is affiliated with Western University. The 1,275 women registered as either full- or part-time students at Brescia study a wide variety of subjects in Arts, Social Sciences, and Foods & Nutrition in an empowering, compassionate, student-centred, and invigorating environment. Degrees are granted by Western. The Catholic College welcomes students from all backgrounds and values diversity. For more current and archived news, a listing of faculty experts, and photos please visit our Media Centre at http://media.bresciauc.ca/