Courtesy NTU
NTU Culinary Arts student Ryan Manning of Fort Defiance, Ariz. talks with NM State Senator Benny Shendo (Jemez Pueblo) while serving sautéed vegetables at a special check presentation at Walmart’s Gallup store on March 8th.

NTU Culinary Arts Gets Walmart Foundation Grant to Support Healthy Cooking Practices

ICTMN Staff
3/13/14

On Saturday, March 8, 2014, the Walmart Foundation presented Navajo Technical University’s Culinary Arts program with a $75,000 check to support a healthy cooking project where students and instructors from NTU’s Culinary Arts department will travel to Bureau of Indian Education schools in New Mexico to promote healthy cooking and eating habits.

The project, known as Healthy Cooking and Eating in Indian Country, will utilize NTU’s catering truck and mobile kitchen two days a week to train food preparation staff at BIE schools on how to prepare and present Native foods in a healthy way that entices students to eat nutritiously. NTU will partner with the Navajo Nation Special Diabetes Project at each demonstration and will also provide three intensive training sessions on NTU’s Crownpoint campus for school staff to learn more in-depth about nutrition and preparing healthy foods.

“Our goal is to foster healthy eating habits among Native Americans and inspire NTU Culinary Arts students to grow into leaders that strive for healthy outcomes in their communities,” stated NTU Culinary Arts Director Chef Bob Witte, CEC. “We’d like to thank Walmart for allowing us to do so.”

The Walmart Foundation’s New Mexico State Giving Program awarded a total of $353,100 to eight organizations from across the state, including NTU and the Albuquerque-based organization New Mexico Appleseed, who NTU will be collaborating with on a Navajo Food Fellowship for junior high school students from Crownpoint High School over the upcoming summer.

NTU Culinary Arts students take a photo with Walmart Gallup Store Manager Terry Ormeroid, center, after being awarded a $75,000 check to support a healthy cooking project. To the left of Ormeroid include: NTU Culinary Arts director Chef Bob Witte, NM State Senator Benny Shendo, and NTU President Dr. Elmer J. Guy. (Courtesy NTU)

“Walmart is proud to support these organizations in their efforts to help address critical needs throughout New Mexico,” said Pedro Andrade, regional director of operations for Walmart. “Together we can make a positive difference in the communities we serve.”

Navajo Tech last received a Walmart Foundation grant in 2010 in which its Culinary Arts program used the money to inform the community on how to construct a solar oven for sustainability purposes. The oven eventually earned the students a trip to Washington D.C. in the spring of 2013 to present their work at a sustainable solutions convention at the National Mall of America.

NTU is currently working on a schedule for providing training sessions at BIE schools and could begin outreach by next month. For more information about the Walmart Foundation grant or NTU’s ACF accredited Culinary Arts program, contact NTU’s media office at 505.488.8444 or by emailing dvandever@navajotech.edu.

About NTU’s Culinary Arts program

Navajo Technical University, located in Crownpoint, New Mexico, is a tribal university serving the Navajo Nation. Currently 134 students are enrolled in NTU’s Culinary Arts programming, which has a certified American Culinary Federation practical exam kitchen, a 97 percent student retention, and a 90 percent graduation rate. Both NTU and the Culinary Arts department are committed to making positive impacts in Native communities.

About Philanthropy at Walmart

Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are committed to helping people live better through philanthropic efforts. By operating globally and giving back locally, Walmart is uniquely positioned to address the needs of the communities it serves and make a significant social impact within its core areas of giving: Hunger Relief and Healthy Eating, Sustainability, Career Opportunity and Women’s Economic Empowerment. Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are leading the fight against hunger in the United States with a $2 billion commitment through 2015. Walmart has donated more than 1 billion meals to those in need across the country. To learn more about Walmart’s giving, visit foundation.walmart.com.

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