Community Building with Cookies
One of the best parts of living in my neighborhood, Cole Valley in San Francisco, is that Erika Lenkert, the founder and editor of GFF Magazine lives here too! Erika is an amazing community builder. She set up a Cole Valley Cares network during Covid. Now there is a network of people who can help connect with and help the elderly and sickly during this difficult time. And, yesterday, she organized our first Cole Valley Cookie Walk. Spoiler alert: It was adorable and hugely successful!
Blue Zone Longevity Study Supports Cookie Walks
Well . . . maybe not in EVERY sense, but stay with me. In my recent blog, I talked about the Blue Zone research. In that study, the authors point out a common characteristic of five regions of the world known for longevity and health. And, a number of the factors relate to connected to your community. Of course, this is not news. People are social animals and lots of research has echoed the importance of feeling connected to your community.
Back to the Community-Building Cookie Walk
But enough about studies. What I loved about the cookie walk is that it was so joyful and completely Covid-friendly. For people who like to bake, making a double batch of your best cookie recipe and sharing them with friends is about as good as it gets.
And, we had amazing participation! About 20 households got out their long-handled tongs or setup up a pulley or chute system to deliver cookies to families, joggers, grandparents, and anyone else who walked by to chat. Erika and I gave out about 150 cookies over two hours and re-connected and newly connected with our community.
In San Francisco, we have the benefit of neighbors all around. But if you want to replicate the Community Building Cookie Walk idea, you could invite people to show up at a park with card tables spread out. Or, you could ask a school if you could use their parking lot. If you are worried about crowds, just have people sign up ahead of time, both to share cookies and to walk.
Best Oatmeal Cookie Recipe
Erika has amazing gluten-free cookies in her GFF Magazine. I’m sure my daughter Kelsey has made nearly all of them. For the cookie walk, Erika made Butterscotch White Chocolate Chip cookies that were soft and bursting with flavor–a huge hit.
I made my family’s favorite Best Gluten-Free Oatmeal Cookie recipe from our website, which was developed by my daughter Kelsey, who brought you the famous allergy-friendly Bouche de Noel featured in GFF Magazine in December 2019. Her oatmeal cookies are thin and crispy with a bit of a caramelized touch. They are a true delight. And, you can vary the flavor by adding cinnamon or chocolate shavings to the batter.
We have a neighborhood Facebook group that made it easy to organize community building events. If you don’t have that or a similar-type email group, this is a great excuse for starting one. It’s good for community building and community safety. Let us know if you have a cookie walk and we’ll share your photos here!
Happy Valentines Day from the ZEGO team to you!
Colleen Kavanagh is the founder and CEO of ZEGO. ZEGO is inspiring changes in the food system so it better nourishes all people and our planet. She spent 20 years working to better nourish low-income children through improved public policies and programs, working for Congressman George Miller in Washington, DC, and various anti-hunger nonprofits. She founded the nonprofit www.abettercourse.org. In 2013, she decided the only way to better nourish the most vulnerable is to leverage consumer demand through the marketplace to regenerating the food system and protect the most vulnerable. And that, lead to her starting ZEGO.
At ZEGO, we believe our customers have the power to change the food industry for the better. By giving you a platform and projecting your voice, we aim to change the culture of the food industry — establishing your right to know what’s in your food — so it better supports you, your community, and our planet.