Teal Pumpkin Project raises awareness for food allergies

Whether you’re cooking for your family, preparing food for a community event, a professional chef or someone enrolled in one of many different kinds of culinary arts programs, catering to the dietary needs of your audience is something you always must consider. Even if you aren’t a culinary expert, this reality probably enters the center of your focus each year on Halloween. In an effort to reinforce the issue of food allergies among trick-or​-treaters, a new campaign known as the Teal Pumpkin Project is taking form in multiple areas around the United States.

The Teal Pumpkin Project
According to the Lansing State Journal, the goal of the Teal Pumpkin Project is to raise awareness of differing food allergies among children on Halloween. On a night in which free candy is rampant, parents must take extra care to ensure that their children don’t consume something that could trigger an allergic reaction. While this precuation is important, it can be upsetting for children who are left without a treat at a house along the way. This movement encourages community members to offer non-food Halloween treats, such as stickers or other little trinkets, to children who may have intolerances to ingredients in certain candy. In an effort to create heightened visibility, this campaign asks families who will be engaging in this practice to mark themselves by placing a teal-painted pumpkin on their front porch or in their driveway.

History and expansion
National Public Radio has reported that the campaign first got their start last year, 2013,  in Tennessee. Since then, the movement has grown to gain nationwide footing. One of the driving forces behind the expansion of the Teal Pumpkin Project has been the work of the group FARE, which stands for Food Allergy Research and Education. Veronica LaFamina, who works closely with the group, stated in an interview with NPR that one in 13 children have a food allergy that could be considered serious. In speaking with the radio station, LaFamina reiterated that the point of the campaign is to offer as inclusive an experience as possible to all children each Halloween, even when dietary restrictions prohibit the consumption of certain treats:

“The great thing about non-food treats is that they really are inclusive of kids with life-threatening food allergies, but also other kids who may not be able to have candy as an option,” said LaFamina.

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