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Farm to table: NE Ohio nonprofit works to positively change the way we think about food

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Posted at 6:14 AM, Oct 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-06 06:14:25-04

BRECKSVILLE, Ohio — A local non-profit is working to make you think differently about exactly what and how you eat each day.

Spice Field Kitchen is changing the way children and adults connect with food across Northeast Ohio.

Down on the farm, tucked away along Riverview Road in Brecksville, you’ll find cultivation in real form.

“You eat with your eyes first-- even while you’re walking through a garden it has to be varied, the different types of plant structure, the different types of colors," said Ben Bebenroth, Chef/Farmer/Founder of Spice Hospitality Group.

It’s the home of Spice Field Kitchens.

Kale, cabbages, pumpkins, and other vegetables surround the space.

The non-profit was created to show the true ripple effect connection between fresh foods and wellness.

“Healthy soil creates healthy food-- which then creates healthy people which then creates healthy communities," said Bebenroth.

Bebenroth and Steven Baker work each day to better connect students with food you can grow on your own.

They say it’s vital as obesity rates surge and test scores drop in classrooms nationwide.

They witnessed it firsthand several years ago, when they worked as teachers.

Children often brought pop, sugary snacks, and chips for lunch.

Those children would eventually crash and struggle to stay focused in the classroom.

They wanted to inspire and make a difference.

“When kids come out here and they have an experience with us, it’s kind of removing that veil of now you know where chicken tenders actually come from," said Bebenroth.

The field programs offer hands-on opportunities to learn about sustainable, nutrient-dense foods that nourish the mind, body, and soul.

The learning garden or "land lab" is a space where the kids are immersed in nature and agriculture.

They see how the foods grow, and they’re encouraged to step out of their comfort zone.

“Even more like encouraging them to know you might not like it, but the most important thing is you are willing to try something new," said Baker.

Baker says oftentimes kids will leave the space and encourage their own parents to start a garden at home or purchase fresh fruits and vegetables.

“What we do is not something that’s reserved for only farmers and chefs, really anybody can do this," said Baker.

Bebenroth says there isn’t a more rewarding job in the world, and he’s already witnessing positive changes for the long term.

“We have kids that wouldn’t try certain vegetables a year ago that now you talk to them after being in the program a year, two years, three years and they’re craving the same vegetables they had aversions to.”

This Saturday Spice Field Kitchen is hosting a family-friendly fundraiser.

All proceeds will benefit the non-profit and its educational efforts.

For additional information and contact details click here.