The Woman Teaching People How to Eat Well on a Food Stamp Budget

Rachel Bolden-Kramer knows what it means to struggle. Despite being the first in her family to go to college (she graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Social Studies and Spanish), she scrambled to find employment in the midst of the financial crisis and subsequent Great Recession. A physical injury inspired her to learn yoga and other natural healing practices, which led her to open a yoga center in New York. But she still relied on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to put food on the table.

Even on a fixed, limited budget, Bolden-Kramer stretched every dollar to eat the most nutritious foods possible. She learned to navigate the challenges of the social welfare system, and used her organizational and advocating skills to teach workshops on radical healing—living in a way to minimize inflammation and disease—commissioned by the New York City Housing Authority. The birth of her daughter brought her home to San Francisco, but it didn’t stop her teaching. In 2017, Bolden-Kramer raised more than $27,000 on Kickstarter to publish her first cookbook, My Food Stamps Cookbook.