The ECO Project was a collaborative effort between Bob’s Red Mill, the internationally known whole-grain company based in Oregon, and NUNM – the nation’s oldest and most respected naturopathic medical school in the country. Although it’s no longer running in its original form, it is the predecessor of the current FAME series and was the inspiration in forming the Food As Medicine Institute.
The partnership between Bob’s Red Mill and NUNM grew from the shared concern regarding the increased prevalence of childhood obesity and, more importantly, the associated rise of disease affecting children like diabetes, hypertension and liver disease.
There are many contributing factors influencing our children’s health. One of these factors is, of course, food choice. Poor food choices, due to problems of access and education, have played a role in this epidemic.
The standard American diet is calorie rich, nutrient poor, highly processed and low in whole foods. Whole foods are foods that have not been highly processed, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains like oats, rice, wheat, and corn. The opposite of whole foods are highly processed foods like fast food, packaged baked goods, sodas, many canned foods, and fried foods.
Choosing a whole–foods, primarily plant–based diet can be a part of the solution to improve the health of our children and our communities. It will take a community-based effort to sustain healthy behavioral changes. The ECO Project has reached out to communities who recognized a need from within to improve their relationship with food and their nutrition understanding.
ECO Project Locations
To serve our mission, the ECO Project offered a series of 12 weekly workshops for children, families, and adults in underserved and low-income areas of Portland and Gresham to provide health education and hands–on, whole foods cooking instruction.
Current or past ECO Project locations.
- June Key Delta Community Center, North Portland
- Mt. Olivet Church, North Portland
- Roosevelt High School, North Portland
- United Methodist Church, Banks, OR, Sponsored by Jim’s Thriftway
- Gresham High School, Gresham, OR
- Zenger Farm, Southeast Portland