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Written by Kelly Sheehy, Content Specialist, Downtown Main Library

Halloween is right around the corner, which means it’s almost time for our annual HallowREAD party! On Saturday, October 19 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. we’re inviting you and your family to put on your costumes and come to the Downtown Main Library for a day jam-packed with tricks and treats. While some of those treats will satisfy any sweet tooth, from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. non-profit organization New Leaf Kitchen will teach kids and families how to whip up healthy seasonal snacks during this candy-packed season. 

New Leaf Kitchen is on a mission to spread the value of healthy eating and mindful living through cooking and food exploration programs. “Our ‘root-up’ approach to food education focuses on how to source, grow, prepare, and consume food in ways that will positively impact our health, environment, and economy,” said Founder and Director Annie Streitmarter. “We have a vision of healthy, equitable, and sustainable communities for everyone.” 

According to ClosingTheHealthGap.org, an alarming 25% of Cincinnati’s population lives in a food desert. A food desert is “a neighborhood or area where its residents have little or no access to healthy, fresh foods. This lack of accessibility is a major barrier to those in the community who are trying to live healthier lifestyles.” Food deserts disproportionately affect low-income communities and communities of color. More than 23.5 million Americans do not have access to a grocery store within one mile of their homes. Legislation, enforcement of policies like the Good Food Purchasing Program, systemic overhaul, and programs like New Leaf Kitchen can work together to change this growing crisis that is tightly interwoven with institutionalized racism and mounting inequalities across various systems in our society. 

“I founded New Leaf Kitchen after years of working with children and observing the growing number of diet-related chronic illnesses, vast food insecurities, and the unfair void in nutritional education,” said Streitmarter. “I believe if you ‘give a child a snack, you feed them for a minute; if you teach a child a skill, you feed them for a lifetime’. Healing only the symptoms will never affect the cause, so I developed culinary nutrition programs for every age, ability, and background.”   

At this year’s HallowREAD, New Leaf Kitchen is demonstrating how to make Spooky Trail Mix with Pumpkin Granola. It’s so simple and healthy we’re sharing it with you right now so you can start making it at home for your own family! 

Here’s what you’ll need: 

Pumpkin Granola
2 ½ cups rolled oats
½ cup pumpkin puree
¼ cup coconut oil, melted 
¼ cup maple syrup
1 tsp allspice 
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Add the rolled oats to a large mixing bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients to a small bowl. Whisk together until it’s an even consistency. Pour the mixture over the rolled oats. Stir until oats are evenly coated. Pour mixture onto a baking sheet. Bake 25 minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove from over. Granola will harden as it cools. 

Spooky Trail Mix
¼ cup Pumpkin Granola (recipe above)
2 Tbs pumpkin seeds in the shell 
1 Tbs dried mango, cut into pieces
½ Tbs non-dairy chocolate chips 
1 Tbs raisins 

Mix all the ingredients together. Eat, share, and enjoy! 

We hope you’ll join us this Saturday for performances by the Frisch Marionettes', Birds of Prey from Raptor, Inc., storytime with local author Erin Baker, plus crafts & trick-or-treating throughout the building for candy or prizes! Registration is not required. Just show up and have a ball! 

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