Bite-Sized Medicine

Dr. Kelsey Sicker is a new graduate from The Ohio State University College of Medicine. Kelsey’s interest and involvement in advocating for Culinary Medicine to be a part of medical education has helped strengthen the partnerships between Local Matters and area medical institutions. Kelsey and two classmates have led the development of a podcast series, “Bite-Sized Medicine,” that brings some of the lessons they have learned through Culinary Medicine programming to life.

This piece is from Kelsey and provides some context for the podcast “Bite-Sized Medicine.” Enjoy!

Nutrition and more specifically, cooking, are not prominent topics in medical education, despite being a known modifiable risk factor for many of the leading causes of disease and death in the United States. This includes heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and more. As part of an initiative to improve physician education on the topic of cooking, Local Matters has partnered with multiple institutions in Columbus, including The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and Mount Carmel Health System to teach medical trainees healthful cooking through a program called Culinary Medicine (specifically, Tulane University’s Health Meets Food Curriculum1).

Culinary Medicine includes structured lecture and reading materials that highlight important dietary recommendations for specific health concerns and applies that information to hands-on cooking lessons. This combination makes the scientific nutrition applicable to eating real food. Local Matters chefs and volunteers make the hands-on lessons possible for numerous medical trainees in Columbus, ultimately helping physicians better guide patients with regard to making healthy dietary changes. As an additional benefit, students and physicians gain comfort in their own cooking skills in order to better care for themselves which also maximizes their ability to take care of others!

After partnering with Local Matters and volunteering with the Culinary Medicine classes for a few years, 2 medical students and a dietetics student felt strongly that this information was vital for all medical students and physicians. They noted that there were common questions and comments that resonated particularly strongly over and over with each round of classes. As a result, this team of students started a podcast called Bite-Sized Medicine that discusses the most important evidence-based information and breaks down how to talk about it with patients in a way that is meaningful and efficient. Each episode is less than 10 minutes and focuses on one specific health topic. Check out the Bite-Sized Medicine podcast (available on most platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts) to learn about applicable ways to incorporate healthy dietary recommendations and catch a glimpse of the work with which Local Matters has been involved!

1.     Tulane University, Health Meets Food Curriculum,

Reflections on my internship with Local Matters

Author: MacKenzie Powell, Local Matters Intern, Spring 2019

The semester interning with Local Matters has been amazing.

I only have good things to say about this nonprofit. The staff is passionate, friendly, inclusive, and always willing to help. The work environment is open and welcoming. The work Local Matters does is impactful and inspiring. As their intern this semester, I was greeted with open arms and taken in as one of their own. Local Matters feels like home.

As Local Matters’ communication intern, I completed a few different projects this semester. My first big task was to complete a website audit; I read and edited all the content on Local Matters’ website. I spent three weeks editing and revising the content on their website. This task was challenging and helped stretch my editing skills. Throughout this grueling process, Sarah was there to answer my questions and give me the push I needed to complete the audit. I have also collected social media data analytics, compiled a list of over 100 media mentions of Local Matters over ten years, and created social media content. All these tasks have helped me immensely grow as a writer.

This semester, I have learned a lot about being environmentally friendly. Local Matters has helped me become more conscious about my efforts to reduce, reuse, and recycle. Before interning at Local Matters, I thought there was only one way to recycle, but I found out through Local Matters’ recycling effort there are multiple ways to recycle; different types of plastics go into different bins. Local Matters is a great resource for anyone wanting to learn more about becoming environmentally friendly.

Local Matters has made a large impact on me. I am thankful that I had this opportunity to intern with this nonprofit. I will take what I learned at Local Matters with me wherever I go. Thank you, Local Matters, for being so inspiring!

Check out my tips and tricks on how to be a successful Local Matters’ intern below!

Recipe: How to navigate staff lunches


1 tasty lunch

4 cups of good communication skills

3 oz of confidence

6 tbs of transparency


Take your lunch to the kitchen. Mix 4 cups of good communication skills, 3 oz of confidence and 6 tbs of transparency together. Take a deep breath and enjoy your lunch. Take time to ask your coworkers questions; don’t worry everyone is very friendly.

Recipe: How to assimilate to nonprofit culture


2 cup of observation skills

1 cup of research

1/3 cup of open mindedness

2 tbs of questions


Combine 2 cups of your observation skills with 1 cup of research. Observe Local Matters’ culture and research local nonprofit culture. Sift 1/3 cup of open mindedness with 2 tbs of questions. Some elements of Local Matters’ culture may be different than what you’re used to, so keep an open mind. Do not be afraid to ask questions!

Recipe: How to pick up on nonprofit jargon


4 cups of research

2/3 cups of questions


Sift 4 cups of research with 2/3 cups of questions. Do your research on nonprofit jargon and don’t be afraid to ask questions if you’re confused!

Recipe: How to tell your supervisor you need more assignments


1 intern

1 supervisor

1 tbs of questions

2 cups of courage

1 oz of determination


Blend 1 tbs of questions, 2 cups of courage and 1 oz of determination together. Muster up the courage to ask your supervisor for more things to do. Take your determination with you when you ask for more assignments. All you must do is ASK!

Recap: The Ohio State Fair

Originally published: August 10, 2018

Leading hands-on activities at the 2018 Ohio State Fair was a first for Local Matters. For two weeks, we led cooking demonstrations, food and growing activities for kids, and chatted to fair-goers about our work. To recap this wonderful experience, we wanted to take a moment and share the recipes we used at the fair with you! The recipes are listed below and hyperlinked to another page. Enjoy!

Quinoa & Black Bean Salad

Southwestern Black-eyed Pea & Corn Salad

Summer Quinoa Mix w/ Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Sautéed Kale, & Roasted Broccoli

Raw Kale Salad

Black Beans & Rice



Tropical Fruit Smoothies    

Three Sisters Salad

Veggie Frittata  

Community Garden Pasta

Veggie Stir-fry with Brown Rice

Tofu Sloppy Joes

Whole Wheat Pancakes

Closing Groceries: a symptom, problem, or sign of things to come?

Originally published: January 26, 2018

Michelle Moskowitz Brown
Executive Director, Local Matters

Over the past few years, I have found myself saying that grocery stores are not coming back. As we watch stores close inside and outside of Columbus city limits, it has become increasingly clear that the razor-thin profit margins of the grocery industry make it difficult for a business to provide what we can all agree is a basic right – access to a variety of foods and other services that grocers provide (e.g. pharmacies, banking services, household essentials).

With the recent notice about the Northern Lights Kroger* in Linden closing, the issues of access to food, as well as financial and pharmacy services, is rightfully at the forefront of many conversations between residents, clergy, public officials, non-profits, and businesses who are affected and concerned.

At this point in my life, I am not personally affected by a lack of access and I would not claim to understand what losing this Kroger means for shoppers, workers, and the Linden community.  I do think there is a reality with which we must come to terms regarding how we currently meet needs and how rapidly it is changing.

I wonder if Kroger was even meeting the needs or wants of the Linden neighborhood. Are there people with grocery operation experience, New Americans or otherwise, that might be able to bring a different model to serve the residents?

This Kroger closing seems symptomatic of a city divided by race and class. Are there enough people in proximity to the store that could have spent their dollars at this Kroger but did not? Was it truly the type of store that the neighborhood wanted and needed? The discussions Local Matters hosted about food access and education in eight different neighborhoods from 2013-2016 confirmed our sense that store location does not correlate to where people shop. We found that even when people do not have access to their own car, people tend to shop based on their preferences and how stores feel to them. So, we cannot just talk about food deserts and try to solve it by wishing that a store would open or stay open.

So, what about Linden? At least for the next month, there will be shuttles running in a loop every 20 minutes from the closed Northern Lights plaza to the Morse Road Kroger. Additionally, I recently learned that Kroger pharmacies deliver to homes (though there must be someone present to sign for medications). I understand there are several ideas in the works to fill the gap in services that a store closing creates, but I cannot speak to their efficacy or reality at this point.

What are we committed to at Local Matters? We support the next generation in understanding where their food comes from (not the grocery store), how to cook it, and how to access it affordably. We help people use fresh, frozen, and canned food interchangeably.  We believe that a living wage and access to food is a basic right and that it is not elitist to cook good food at home. We help people meet their food goals and feed their families every day.

Food access in neighborhoods is ever changing. With new home delivery and pick up options, the potential for Amazon to accept SNAP (though certainly not a viable option for all), and changing demographics, we have to envision a better future for obtaining food. We host monthly community conversations and have one planned on this topic on February 22. We welcome you to join us.


*Disclosure: Local Matter receives $10 gift cards from Kroger that we utilize in our Cooking Matters program, which supports people with the skills and resources to eat well and feed their families. One week of the program takes place at grocery stores (we go wherever participants say they shop) and we help people stretch their dollar even further. 


Healthy School Lunches Are Our Local Responsibility

Originally published: August 15, 2017

By: Michelle Moskowitz Brown, Executive Director 

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue spoke at the School Nutrition Association’s (SNA) annual conference last week, defending the freeze on implementing new school nutrition guidelines that would have capped sodium and added sugar levels, and required greater availability of whole grain options.

He nostalgically looked back at the beloved cinnamon rolls from his childhood lunchroom:

You know what? Back then, there was very little childhood obesity. Why’s that? Because we played outside all the time and there were nutritious meals at home,” Perdue said, to cheers. “But we know times have changed. Today you’re still responsible for providing, many times, the main meal for many children.
— Politico’s Morning Agriculture Report

Times have changed and with devastating effects on our kids. In America today,  one in three children is likely to develop diabetes – one in three! Currently, 50% of adults are diabetic or pre-diabetic. Diabetes is now the third largest cause of death in our country and the single most expensive condition to treat relative to total healthcare expenditures nationwide. We are experiencing an avoidable health epidemic. Now, Sonny Perdue is certainly right when he says our kids need more exercise, but exercise, and safe outdoor spaces are only part of the solution.

Which brings me back to those tasty cinnamon rolls. My kids eat pastries, they eat dessert. Hey, they are kids, and they enjoy an occasional cinnamon roll. But why do these need to be a part of everyday and a common breakfast option? As a mom and as Executive Director of Local Matters, I know how important it is to celebrate tasty food, but I’d prefer if the pastry was the exception, not the rule.

It is hard enough to keep our kids healthy, and even though it is challenging to do this for an entire school district, shouldn’t that be our goal, not something to mock or minimize? Currently, a school breakfast of yogurt and a cinnamon roll can have more than 31 grams of sugar. The recommended allowance for adults is just 25 grams. Why is this being normalized by the people responsible for feeding our children when they’re at school?

Despite my role at Local Matters, a food education, access and advocacy non-profit, I was not aware of how much sugar was allowable in a day until just a few years ago. If you find yourself in the same position, that isn’t your fault. This information is not on the nutritional facts label, and the move to make this more transparent is delayed as well. 

My point here is not that that eating well is easy or that the SNA is bad, or that Secretary Perdue has a fond memory for the Mayberry of his youth rather than the reality of America in 2017. Our kids’ futures are in peril in part from what they are eating and we’re being coaxed not to worry. Who is looking out for our children’s health?

I do remain optimistic. Columbus City Schools has recently invested in processing equipment that will enable it to serve sliced apples to the 55,000 students in their district (my two children included). They will not stop there – moving on to other veggies like carrots and cucumbers in the future, while also serving Ohio produced or processed food once a month to start. Even a seemingly small change like slicing apples locally instead of having a factory slice, package and deliver them –– makes kids much more likely to eat them. I know change must be well-planned and collaborative, and I applaud the district for taking this work up in earnest.

You can argue with me, but I ask you to consider: who is making the decisions about what your kids are eating and what do they care about? When did anybody ask you, the caregivers, what you want for your child when it comes to school food? There is nobody better than parents and concerned citizens to take up the charge in answering this question. Groups like Local Matters can and should be tasked with doing more in today’s world to bring healthy food education and training to our kids in Central Ohio and throughout the state.

Source: Politico’s Morning Agriculture Report

Thank you, ADAMH, for your support of Cooking Matters

Originally published: March 2017

Local Matters, through the generosity of the Alcohol Drug and Mental Health Board (ADAMH), is excited to partner with Southeast’s Medication Assisted Treatment program to offer Cooking Matters services to clients dealing with opiate addiction. The classes focus on teaching the participants about healthful food, nutrition, and wellness. Nutritional health is often not addressed in recovery programs; Local Matters and Southeast, Inc. are partnering to help change that with the support of ADAMH.

Located in downtown Columbus, Southeast is a provider of multiple healthcare services, including the treatment of chemical dependency. Southeast uses both medication and counseling, providing wrap-around services to support the client’s medical, physical and emotional needs. This, coupled with nine hours of sober support activities, helps to promote a drug-free lifestyle for their participants.

Those dealing with addictive illnesses often have trouble finding the means to access healthful foods. This is an area in which both Southeast and Local Matters hope to intervene. In addition to eating balanced meals, it is also important for patients to eat healthy snacks throughout the day, which help stabilize mood and prevent relapse. The necessity for healthful foods is one reason the Cooking Matters classes focuses on a Facilitated Dialogue approach to teaching. This approach allows participants to decide what works best for them and their needs. The adaptability in structuring classes for Southeast clients is crucial to teaching them about the importance of healthful foods, also to keeping them on track to recovery.

Local Matters would, again, like to extend our sincere gratitude to Southeast for their partnership and to ADAMH, for their generous support of this pilot project.