Dietetic Intern. New Hampshire resident. Pennsylvania native. Penn State alumna. Future dietitian. Food lover. Travel enthusiast. Experimenter in the kitchen. Appreciator of fresh, local, flavorful food. Avid reader.
I’m Carissa, and these are a few things about me. For the past year, I’ve been living in New Hampshire, completing my dietetic internship in order to become a registered dietitian. Keene State College’s dietetic internship is community-focused and very individualized, allowing me the opportunity to create my own projects with Food Connects this summer. With inspiration from some amazing resources like VT Harvest of the Month, I developed a series of sensory activities and taste tests to conduct during service of summer meals at Retreat Farm on some Fridays.
These activities highlight fresh, in-season produce and herbs grown at Retreat Farm, with the goal of increasing kids’ exposure to, interest in, and preference for fresh fruits and vegetables. Taste tests give kids the opportunity to try a new food without the commitment of eating a full meal. Sensory activities give kids the chance to interact with new foods using all of their senses other than taste, such as touch, sight, and smell. It can take a while for a child to become comfortable with a new food and eventually enjoy eating it, so it is my hope that these activities help kids grow an appreciation for fresh fruits and vegetables! To experience it for yourself, bring your kiddos to Retreat Farm for a free lunch at 12 pm on Friday August 9 and 16.
Growing up in Lancaster County, PA, there was never a shortage of fresh produce during the summer. When I went to college and started learning about the many social injustices in our society and the many issues in our current food system, my passion for providing equitable access to healthy food and nutrition education emerged. I originally started studying nutrition out of personal interest in and love for food, but now my eyes were opened to the role I could play in building a healthier, more sustainable, and more equitable food system as a dietitian. I don’t know what my career will look like or the exact jobs I’ll have, but my year in this internship has shown me that this work can be done many different ways. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with Food Connects, learn from its work in food distribution, access and education, and support its mission. I can’t wait to see how it and organizations with similar goals and values around the world change our food system for the better.