Cooperation continues: Food education strengthens the everyday lives of families with children

Published: 3.3.2022 11.20
Pumpkin pasta on a plate and Venner's prescription book.
Photo: Marko Oikarinen, Venner

The City of Espoo’s Family and Social Services continues its cooperation with the social enterprise Venner, now running a pilot in family social work on the effects of nutritious food boxes and home-based food education on the overall well-being of families with children living in Espoo.

The pilot will include teaching skills in nutritious, environmentally friendly, and economical cooking. The long-term aim of the experiment is to support families’ well-being and inclusion and have a positive impact on the financial management skills of families with children.

The Venner food box will be delivered three times, on a monthly basis, to selected client families as part of family work. The box contains all the necessary ingredients for a week’s main meals, as well as some snacks, fruit, olive oil, and vitamin D. The food concept also includes recipes and easy-to-follow cooking instructions and videos, as well as information on affordable nutritious food.

“We believe that a colourful and nutritious food box delivered to a family’s home will bring joy and a moment of relief to their everyday lives. Everyone must have the right and opportunity to provide comprehensive well-being for their children, regardless of the family’s socio-economic status,” says Miia Kivilinko, Head of Family Social Work.

Family social work professionals working with the families support them in cooking, helping them discover new foods according to each family’s needs. The families will be asked for their experiences and feedback on the food boxes, as well as their effects on the family’s well-being.

“We are now setting out with an open mind to experiment with different forms of help and support and gather our clients’ experiences of this kind of service. We want to see if the food box could be a part of the family work we offer to families,” says Kivilinko.

Changes in families’ eating habits

Family social work is continuing an experiment launched by adult social work in June 2021. Families who participated in the first pilot found that they learned many new skills, such as how to cook vegetarian meals and how to choose inexpensive and nutritious food when shopping.

Emilia Järvinen from Venner highlights how the food education model is an influential and cost-effective way to support family well-being and reinforce good everyday habits at home. With this experiment, family social work also wants to support sustainable development and ecological lifestyles.

“It is great to have the opportunity to see how our concept can be applied as a concrete tool to support professionals in family social work. Our cooperation with the City of Espoo’s Family Social Services is meaningful because it allows us to combine our expertise for the benefit of families,” Emilia Järvinen says.

Families who took part in the first pilot also reported that their eating habits had changed – they had increased the amount of plant-based foods, fruit, and vegetables in their diets.

“In family social work, we want to support the overall well-being of children and families. Meals are an important part of a family’s daily life. At best, cooking and meals bring family members together and strengthen the interaction between them – not forgetting the value of nutritious food for well-being. Venner’s food concept is great support for the work we do in family social work,” says Kivilinko.

Family social work contact information

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