Registered Dietitians Transform the Food Culture in Western Mass

Inspired by Food Day, Baystate Medical Center in Springfield is working to change its food culture. The movement is organized by twelve members of Baystate’s nutrition staff, who created a mission statement: to demonstrate Baystate Health’s commitment to sourcing and promoting healthy, local, and sustainable food for patients, employees and the community.

Food day planning committee at Baystate

Registered Dietitian Nutritionists and Dietetic Technicians, Registered on the Food Day planning committee at Baystate

Two registered dietitians, Jeff Sautter and Paula Serafino-Cross, are leading the Food Day initiatives at Baystate. As clinicians in the hospital, a 650-bed facility, they see the effects of poor nutrition every day. Paula recently lamented about the intravenous nutrition she was planning for a patient who was unable to keep food down, yet needed to regain strength for surgery. “Where is the prevention? Why did he come in at 440 pounds? If our food system were different, people would not find themselves in this situation.”

For Paula, Food Day is an opportunity to utilize her food and nutrition expertise for her true passion: helping people in the local community eat good quality, healthy food. She and her team have been working with the kitchen staff to develop recipes that use local produce available in the fall. They plan to feature the recipes and promote local farms in the cafeteria every Thursday in October.

Beyond October, they are looking to make a more lasting impact through consumer education and sustained change within their organization. On the days when the recipes are served, copies of the recipes, as well as information on farmers markets and local foods, will be available for café patrons. The recipes that have been developed are simple so it will be easier for people to incorporate local foods into their daily lives. Paula hopes that local foods will continue to be promoted on the menu at least once a month and that the percentage of foods purchased locally on an ongoing basis will increase. She would also like to see the movement spread to other sites in the Baystate Health system, which employs 10,000 people across four sites in western Massachusetts.

October 24 is still many weeks away, but at Baystate Health, Food Day is already having an important impact. The platform of Food Day has brought together people from diverse areas of this workplace, and people are excited about what is happening.

Want to learn more about what dietitians can do for your community? The Massachusetts Dietetic Association (MDA) is an organization of over 2,000 nutrition professionals with a vision of optimizing the health of Massachusetts residents through food and nutrition. MDA dietitians are in leadership roles in many venues where sustainable food is encouraged, such as hospitals, health centers, schools, universities, corporate communications, academia, food service, and community work. See www.eatrightma.org for more information.

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Fresh Food Generation Serves Up Food Justice

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Despite the apparent plentitude of restaurants and grocery stores around Greater Boston, there are several underserved neighborhoods that lack access to fresh and affordable food. Due to years of economic divestment and the reluctance of super markets to establish in these areas, the availability of quality food in Roxbury, Dorchester, and Mattapan is very limited. Often times, residents’ closest food sources are convenience stores and fast food chains. Consequently, obesity and diabetes disproportionately affect residents of these low-income urban neighborhoods.

FFG Co-founders, Cassandria Campbell & Jackson Renshaw



However, Fresh Food Generation strives to fix food injustice in Greater Boston. Armed with a food truck and a mission “to improve access to healthy, affordable, cooked foods in low-income neighborhoods”, Fresh Food Generation (FFG) will unveil its food this fall. The food justice-focused organization, which also offers a catering service, will be serving Caribbean and Latin American dishes that are made with seasonal, locally sourced ingredients. Be sure to check out Fresh Food Generation at the Boston Local Food Fest and the Dorchester Park Association 2nd Annual Antique Car Show in September.

 

To stay updated on the latest FFG news, follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

 

The Cambridge Weekend Backpack Program Tackles Childhood Food Insecurity

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Written by Alanna Mallon
The Cambridge Weekend Backpack program (CWBP) is gearing up for it’s second full year and is looking to expand! CWBP provides weekend food for Cambridge Public Schools students and their siblings whose primary source of nutrition is the school cafeteria. These are students who might otherwise go without adequate nutrition over the weekend. The 5 lb. bag of food, which is sent home discreetly in the student’s backpacks, contains two breakfasts, two lunches, nutritional snacks, milk and fresh fruit. These meals ensure that all students are ready to learn on Monday mornings!

The program was founded in the Winter of 2013 as a pilot program in one Cambridge Public School with 15 participants.  The pilot program was generously funded by the Cambridge Health Alliance pediatricians and the parent led non-profit at the pilot school.  With incredible community and local business support, the program was rapidly expanded to include 7 schools and 150 participants in the school year 2013/14.  This year the founder and local mom, Alanna Mallon, hopes to further expand the program and reach many more children who will greatly benefit from the food safety net that the Cambridge Weekend Backpack Program food provides.
The teachers and administrators in the schools that the program operates in are thrilled with the support that the program provides and many have commented that the extra food not only combats food insecurity, but that it is having a very positive impact on student achievement.  Students are much better able to engage in learning and thrive academically, as they aren’t hungry or worried about where their next meal is coming from.  The program has helped with absenteeism as well; when you are well fed, you are less prone to getting sick.  Additionally, the program has served as a family engagement tool with many families expressing that they now feel like their family is being taken care of by their school community.
For more information on the Cambridge Weekend Backpack Program, please find their website here, or follow us on twitter and facebook.  You can also email the founder, Alanna Mallon, at alanna@cambridgeweekendbackpack.com.
To donate, please send a check to:
Friends of Tobin
197 Vassal Lane
Cambridge, MA 02138
attn: Weekend Backpack Program

National Farmer’s Market Week in Massachusetts

Image courtesy of http://www.menupix.com

The 15th Annual National Farmers Market week is in full swing! This week celebrates local farmers and the markets where they supply fresh food for the community.  Farmers markets are crucial to supporting local, small and mid-sized farmers. It’s important to recognize that they also provide a number of benefits for our health, our community, and our economy.

According to Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick,

“Farmers markets are essential to the vitality of Massachusetts farms and are part of the cultural tradition of the Commonwealth; [they] create a festive open air setting which enhances community spirit and civic pride by offering a natural place for community gathering, [and] help heighten public awareness of the agricultural diversity of Massachusetts and the benefits of buying local and preserving open space” (www.mass.gov).

Here’s 10 great reasons to shop at your local farmers market this week, and throughout the year:

  1. Fresh food for you and your family: The produce at farmers markets is as fresh as it gets and that means you’re getting food that tastes better and is more nutrient-rich than food that has traveled hundreds of miles to a grocery store.
  2. Engage with your community: Farmers markets are perfect for meeting others in the neighborhood as well as your local farmers. Shopping at farmers markets is a communal experience, where you create a connection to your neighbors and your environment.
  3. Support local farmers directly: When you buy from farmers, the middleman disappears and they get full retail price for their products.
  4. Help conserve energy: When you buy local food, the environment benefits too. On average, our produce travels 1,500 miles (by air or vehicle) to the grocery store. When you buy local produce, the amount of petroleum used is significantly less.
  5. Create less waste: Buying produce directly from a farmers market, you don’t have to deal with any packaging. You won’t pay for the package, or have to dispose of any.
  6. Ensure a future for local food: In buying food at farmers markets, you keep those farms in your community and ensure that future generations will have access to fresh, nourishing, local food.

There’s no better way to celebrate Farmer’s Market week than to head to one of Massachusetts’ 306 farmers markets! Over 110 farmers markets in Massachusetts participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (accepting food stamps/EBT). To find a farmers market near you, visit MassFarmersMarkets.org.

Opportunities for Food Advocates in Health Care Initiatives

By Jean Terranova and David Waters

One week from tomorrow, the SNAP/Food Stamp benefit stimulus created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 will end. This means that all SNAP recipients will see a reduction in their already meager benefits beginning November 1. With the proposed drastic cuts to SNAP looming in the erratic Farm Bill negotiations, anti-hunger advocates must explore alternative sources of funding to supplement the food resources of people in need.

Black Bean Sweet Potato Soup

Black Bean Sweet Potato Soup

As the Affordable Care Act survived the showdown that brought the Government to its knees and states like Massachusetts are pioneering new models to improve health outcomes while decreasing health care spending, we believe the time is right for anti-hunger advocates to press for the inclusion of sustainable, healthy, affordable foods in the health care system. Studies show that food can be a low-cost means to keep people in their homes and communities, avoiding the need for exorbitant spending on emergency room visits, hospital stays, and nursing home admissions. A recent study estimated that if all states had increased by a mere one percent the number of adults age sixty-five or older who received home-delivered meals in 2009 under Title III of the Older Americans Act, annual savings to states’ Medicaid programs could have exceeded $109 million due to decreased spending on nursing home care. We believe this number would increase exponentially and have a major impact on our food system if these meals were to include high quality locally sourced fruits, vegetables, and other ingredients.

Stuffed Zucchini

Stuffed Zucchini

Here are three ways that you can join us and learn more about our campaign to advocate for the inclusion of food as prevention, treatment, and “medicine” for individuals with chronic disease and critical illnesses in health care reform initiatives:

Join the symposium we are co-hosting with Harvard’s Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation, the Food Law Policy Clinic, and the Food Law Society on October 30;

Attend our session on “Food is medicine and prevention” at the American Public Health Association on November 5;

Contact us if you are interested in joining our Advocacy Committee.

David B. Waters, CEO, Community Servings

Jean Terranova, Director of Food and Health Policy, Community Servings

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Encouraging Kids to Play with their Food!

Hannaford Supermarkets are celebrating Food Day 2013 in over 20 stores across Massachusetts, and they’re inviting you and your kids to play with your food!

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FOODPLAY, a national award-winning nutrition theater show, is bringing its cast of colorful characters, amazing feats of juggling, hip-hop music, and audience participation to turn kids on to healthy eating and active lifestyles to the Lowell and Hudson Hannaford locations. 

FOODPLAY makes good eating great fun, but its messages are serious. In the last 25 years, childhood obesity rates have doubled among elementary school children and tripled among teenagers. One in three children is overweight, and less than two percent of the nation’s youth are meeting their daily nutritional requirements. Kids on average are drinking more than 600 cans of soda and consuming more than 150 pounds of sugars a year, missing out on recommended levels of fruits, vegetables and whole grains needed for optimal health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over one-third of the nation’s youth will develop diabetes if current eating and exercise habits don’t improve.

Locations in Leominster, North Brookfield, Lunenberg, Orange and Townsend will be holding an Apple Crunch, in which associates will visit local schools with apples for students to sample and discuss the benefits of a well-balanced diet. In-store displays will invite shoppers to taste test and compare apple varieties.

Food Day is a reminder to eat well all year-round, and we hope you join Hannaford Supermarkets in doing so!

Sustainable Menus and a Free Food Day Tasting Event in Harvard Square

The Harvard Square Business Association is proud to participate in  the 3rd Annual National Food Day, with not one, but two exciting events: healthy and sustainable menu items in select Harvard Square eateries and a free tasting event!

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The 20-Mile Food Challenge on October 24th will showcase restaurants that are featuring special dishes using ingredients sourced within a 20 mile radius of Harvard Square.  Restaurants participating in the 20-Mile Food Challenge include:

OSUSHI Cambridge
1 Eliot Street, (617) 945-9450, http://www.osushicambridge.com

the red house
98 Winthrop Street, (617) 576-0605, http://www.redhousecambridge.com

Rialto
1 Bennett Street, (617) 500-3055, http://www.rialto-restaurant.com

Russell House Tavern
14 JFK Street, (617) 500-3055, http://www.russellhousecambridge.com

Sandrines
8 Holyoke Street, (617) 497-5300, http://www.sandrines.com

The Sinclair
52 Church Street, (617) 547-5200, http://www.sinclaircambridge.com

Summer Shack Cambridge
149 Alewife Brook Parkway, (617) 520-9500, http://www.summershackrestaurant.com

UpStairs on the Square
91 Winthrop Street, (617) 864-1933, http://www.upstairsonthesquare.com

The free tasting event begins at 5:30pm.  Please join us on Brattle Plaza (In front of Crema Café – 27 Brattle Street) for this delicious event that will last as long as the food does!  Representatives from the restaurants listed below will be on hand distributing tasty tidbits from their sustainable and creative Food Day menus.  Be sure to get there early – with restaurants like these, food will go quickly!

Boloco
OSUSHI Cambridge
Russell House Tavern
Sandrines
The Sinclair
Summer Shack Cambridge

The Harvard Square Business Association is delighted to participate in Food Day, a celebration of and moving toward more healthy, affordable and sustainable food.  Referred to as “Earth Day for food”, Food Day strengthens the connection between consumers and local producers, while advocating for policies that support productive and respectful food systems.  Last year, Massachusetts led the country with the number of activities organized.  This year, The Commonwealth is on track to host 700 activities to support this movement.

For additional information about National Food Day and other events in Harvard Square, please visit http://www.harvardsquare.com

Gleaning and Our Local Food System

By Erin Feeney

According to farmfresh.org, Eastern Massachusetts has over 1,200 fruit and vegetable farms. This profusion of locally available produce is enjoyed by great numbers of Bay Staters. While the local food movement is increasing in popularity in Massachusetts and around the nation, much of the food being produced is lost to waste. On average, up to 40 percent of agricultural production is wasted from ‘farm to fork to landfill’ due to modern farming practices as well as losses, particularly of perishable product, all along the supply chain.

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Boston Area Gleaners’ (BAG) mission is to remedy part of this waste by harvesting and delivering gleaned produce to food pantries, shelters, and soup kitchens. Gleaning is a biblical term referring to the law of those times that required farmers to let peasants onto their farms after the harvest to “glean” whatever produce was left in the fields. Produce is left in the fields for various reasons. Sometimes crops are planted as a bumper in case others fail. If these crops are not needed, the farmer will usually plow it under. Other factors include the imperfection of harvest machinery, impending weather, highly successful seed propagation, closing markets, or slight damage caused by frost or pests, making it therefore difficult to sell.

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All produce gleaned by BAG volunteers is donated to food agencies. Farmers receive no financial benefit; most decide to call in the Gleaners because of their own moral compass. However, because of the cost of labor, even if farmers wish to donate their surplus, they cannot afford to harvest it if it will not be sold. This is the gap that BAG’s volunteers fill with their labor. Volunteers experience the beauty of local farms and learn about the realities of farming, an excellent opportunity for the reintroduction of lost farming and food knowledge. By providing gleaning services to local farmers, BAG aids farmers in improving food in the Boston area. BAG has gleaned over 250K pounds since the project began in 2004 and we can do so much more with your help!

If you want to get out to some area farms to glean with BAG, please e-mail: volunteer@bostonareagleaners.org.  You can also see some great pictures from recent gleaning trips on our Facebook page.

And don’t forget to visit our website at http://www.bostonareagleaners.org!

A Spoonful of Love

This Food Day, we’re asking supporters to cast a vote for Lovin’ Spoonfuls!  We are a non-profit food rescue organization that facilitates the recovery and distribution of healthy, perishable food that would otherwise be discarded.

Since our founding in 2010, we have grown to a 6-person organization with 3 full-time drivers and 3 refrigerated vehicles on the road Monday-Friday throughout the Greater Boston area. To date, we have rescued over 800,000 pounds of healthy, perishable foods.

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Lovin’ Spoonfuls provides nearly 40 different food retailers & wholesalers, farms, farmers markets and CSA distribution points with an outlet for donating excess and unsalable fruits, vegetables, proteins, dairy, and whole grains, reducing their waste and providing a tax-deductible food donation opportunity to support their community.

Using a direct distribution system, we deliver those healthy, perishable foods to over 20 non-profit beneficiaries, including soup kitchens, homeless shelters, women’s shelters, and food pantries, allowing those organizations to spend more on their missions, and less on purchasing food.

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One in five Bostonians are classified as food insecure— meaning they don’t know where their next meal will come from— and the number of residents participating in federal meal assistance programs is at an all-time high. As food insecurity rates continue to rise throughout the country, obesity and diet-related health risks are also increasing, particularly among low-income populations. When it is a challenge to put food on the table, it follows that purchasing healthy alternatives such as fresh produce often falls by the wayside. Yet the food provided by many traditional food assistance programs consists predominantly of overly processed, non-perishable staples laden with salt, sugar and chemical preservatives. Lovin’ Spoonfuls helps social assistance agencies balance their own budgets by providing fresh food at no charge, which in turn allows these organizations to offer healthier food options to their clients and focus their spending on addressing other critical needs. Our work aims to connect people in need to the bounty of unused food that prevails in our community.  Access to nutritious food should be a right, not a privilege reserved for the wealthy.

On October 24th, Food Day, Lovin’ Spoonfuls will be featured in the Toyota 100 Cars for Good promotion at www.100CarsforGood.com.  A vote for us between 10am and midnight (EST) on Food Day will help us receive a Toyota Tundra! If we win the truck, we will be outfitting it with a refrigerated box, allowing us to expand our reach and serve more of the Greater Boston population.  Please mark your calendars and thank you for your vote!

To learn more about Lovin’ Spoonfuls, please visit www.lovinspoonfulsinc.org.

Green City Growers Disrupts Local Food Industry in Boston

erik-150x150Green City Growers transforms unused space in urban environments into flourishing urban farms. The Somerville, MA company founded in 2008, was inspired by small businesses that installed rooftop gardens in California. The company’s mission reflects the values of the company’s founding.

“Green City Growers transforms unused space into thriving urban farms, providing our clients with immediate access to nutritious food, while revitalizing city landscapes and inspiring self-sufficiency.”

The projects at Green City Growers are transforming the ways local food businesses operate.

  • The organization boasts the largest rooftop farm in New England — a whopping 17,000 square foot farm on the rooftop of a Whole Foods supermarket in Lynnfield, MA.
  • The organization created the first rooftop farm in the greater Boston area about 3 years ago at the Ledge Kitchen & Drinks in Dorchester.
  • Thanks to Green City Growers, the b.good burger restaurant in Boston builds its mozzarella salads with the 1,000 pounds of tomatoes and 500 pounds of collard greens that are grown on the roof each year.

The company focuses more than partnering with local businesses. Education and community outreach is a key aspect of the organization. Green City Growers teaches people how to build and install private gardens in homes, schools, places of worship, private home and schools.

A unique program of Green City Growers is an education program at five public elementary schools in Beverly, MA. A local farmer comes once a week to the schools to teach third graders how to grow their own food. The program reaches 300 – 400 elementary students. This program is a one-of-a-kind in the United States.

Beverly Opening Day

If you’re interested in learning more about Green City Growers check out their website at growmycitygreen.com.

“Connected Food” Event in Cambridge, MA

In celebration of Food Day, a team of independent food activists from Boston’s Food and Tech Entrepreneurship Meetup Group and Boston’s General Assembly is hosting an event on October 23rd for people interested in food and technology.  The event highlights the work of local food technology companies located the greater Boston area. The event features several panelists discussing innovative approaches to different aspects of the food system. The intention of the event is to unite members of the food system in Boston and inspire revolutionary changes from farm to table.

The event is a “passion project” of Lauren Abda, a graduate of Tufts University who focused her studies on Food Policy, Nutrition and Entrepreneurship. Lauren attended Assembled Food in New York City earlier in 2013 and was inspired to unite similarly enthusiastic food and tech entrepreneurs in Boston.  She has helped organize events including Food and Beverage Entrepreneurship Night at the Venture Cafe in the Cambridge Innovation Center and ‘From Farm to Tablet, A Startup Feast’ with the MIT Enterprise Forum’s Innovation Series. She also runs a meetup group called Food and Tech Entrepreneurship that aims to unite the community of innovators transforming the food industry through tech.

The event consists of two panel discussions about “Innovation in Production and Distribution” and “Innovations in Vending and Consumption.” The moderator is Adam Salomone, an Associate at the Harvard Common Press and co-founder of the Food Loft. Harvard Common Press is a cookbook publishing company based in the South End of Boston. The company recently launched the Food Loft, a co-working space for emerging food and tech business. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door.

From Farm to Market: Innovation in Production & Distribution

JD Kemp, Founder of Organic Renaissance Food Exchange, ORFoodEx

Joshua Resnikoff,  Founder, of Cuppow

Igor Kharitonenkov,  Co-Founder of Bootstrap Compost

Jeff Barry, Founder of Boston Organics

From Market to Consumer: Innovations in Vending & Consumption

Alessandro “San” Bellino, Owner of The Coffee Trike

Miles Masci, Director of Operations at Perfect Fuel Chocolate

Justin Robinson, Co-Founder of Drizly

Matt Kiernan, VP Marketing of LevelUp

You can reserve your ticket and find out more details about the event here.

Dancing Our Way to Food Day!

By Debbie Shelmire

“HEY! Let’s Eat and Dance for Good Health” is the 3rd annual community event hosted by the Community Health Planning and Policy Development Section (CHPPD) of the American Public Health Association (APHA) in conjunction with the APHA annual meeting and the second event related to Food Day. We believe it is educational for our members to be exposed to public health issues and organizations attempting to address them in the various parts of the country where the annual meeting is held, and it is rewarding to do our bit to help out in these neighborhoods. Last year, we were very pleased to join with several partners in San Francisco’s Tenderloin District to prepare and cook a nutritious meal for seniors and to prepare and serve food for the homeless.  We also conducted a walking audit/tour to assess the food environment in the district, and raised money for one of the organizations.

 MCHC

This year, we are very excited to partner with the Mattapan Community Health Center (MCHC) in Boston for this event on Saturday, November 2 from 10 am – 2:00 pm. The President and CEO of MCHC, Azzie Young, has been an active member of the CHPPD section for many years. We have focused on Food Day for the past few years because of the importance of eating healthy and avoiding obesity, a risk factor for many chronic diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke. This is especially a problem in Mattapan, which has a higher prevalence of diabetes than other areas of Boston. Mattapan is also one of two neighborhoods in Boston identified as a “food desert” because of the community’s lack of access to fresh foods. Another high priority for the health center and for APHA in the past several years has been to address the problem of Vitamin D deficiency, a problem in Mattapan and many other areas of the country.

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So we’re again partnering with the national Food Day celebration to host an event bringing in local chefs to do cooking demonstrations; celebrities to talk about their advocacy for healthy food availability and the importance of exercise; and local dance instructors to teach us how to shake our bodies the fun way and do the Salsa, Zumba, Cha-Cha Slide, and the Wobble. We will also have two Affordable Care Act (ACA) navigators and some health insurance companies on hand to educate and/or enroll community members in health insurance plans. If you’re in the vicinity, please come out and join us. If you’d like to RSVP, please follow this link. http://www.foodday.org/aphachppdsection/hey_let_s_eat_and_dance_for_good_healthThere will be free transportation from the Convention Center to the Health Center at 9:00 am and 10:30 am with return trips at 1:00 pm and 1:45 pm.

 

Wishing everyone good luck with their Food Day events!

Debbie Shelmire, MPH, CPH
Secretary, CHPPD Section, APHA

Help Families in Need to Dine Out with Dignity

Phfeast founder Dan Napierski at Mass Foodie Night

Phfeast founder Dan Napierski at Mass Innovation Nights Foodie #7

by Myrna Greenfield, Good Egg Marketing

As someone who loves growing, cooking, eating, and sharing healthy local food, I’m always looking for ways to pass along my latest and greatest find. So I was excited to meet Dan Napierski at the recent Mass Innovation Nights Foodie #7 and learn about Phfeast, his innovative new food philanthropy program. (Get it? Philanthropy + food = Phfeast!)

Phfeast LogoPhfeast is a restaurant loyalty program where you can earn free meals for children and families in need, just by checking in when you’re dining at participating eateries. This start-up, based at the Venture Development Center at UMass Boston, provides a platform for loyal customers to earn meal rewards for families that rely on food pantries for assistance.

“I have three young children of my own at home,” Napierski told me. “I feel fortunate to be able to put food on our table and to take them out for a meal. I started Phfeast when I realized that thousands of families in Massachusetts don’t know where their next meal is coming from,” he said.

“According to Project Bread, 700,000 Massachusetts children and adults are experiencing food insecurity,” Napierski added. “Food pantries are facing increased demand, so we’re partnering with them to reach people who need help. Phfeast enables families in need to enjoy a meal with dignity.”

iPhone Phfeast appNapierski, a Framingham, Mass. resident whose background is in software development, has already created a web-based program for Phfeast and native Android and iOS apps are coming soon. Customers earn points each time they “check in” at participating locations. When each location reaches a specific number of points, it issues a dining certificate to a local food pantry, allowing an individual or family in need to dine at that restaurant for free.

Phfeast charges the eateries a subscription fee. Participating restaurants get promoted by Phfeast and gain all the benefits of a traditional loyalty program. By promoting their participation in the program, the restaurants can attract new customers and encourage current customers to eat there more frequently. And the eateries will be able to account for and promote their charitable giving.

Currently, there are 11 participating locations, including six Stone Hearth Pizza Co. restaurants, three Chicken & Rice Guys food trucks, the Amsterdam Falafelshop in Somerville, and the Foodie Café in Framingham. Napierski is adding locations rapidly and hopes to expand to other cities, starting with Washington, DC.

“It’s important that we all work together to fight hunger,” says the Foodie Café’s David Blais.  “Choosing to partner with Phfeast made perfect sense.”

Napierski is a strong supporter of the Food Day priorities. “In addition to helping to reduce hunger, we’re helping families eat safer, healthier meals at the participating eateries,” he said. “And many of the low-paid workers in the food industry rely on food stamps and food pantries to get by. It’s an honor to be able to give back to those workers by enabling them to enjoy a free meal, on the house,” he added.

As we get closer to Food Day on October 24, signing up to participate in Phfeast as an eater, business or donor is an easy way for us to help reduce hunger, one meal at a time. For more info, visit http://www.Phfeast.com.

 

Eat, Learn, Share at Boston’s Upcoming Food Festivals

by Myrna Greenfield, Good Egg Marketing

Food servings from Boston Local Food Festival

One of the delicious dishes available at last year’s Boston Local Food Festival.

The principles behind Food Day are words that I try to eat and live by: promote safer, healthier diets; support sustainable and organic farms; reduce hunger; reform factory farms to protect the environment and farm animals; support fair working conditions for food and farm workers.

This September, Massachusetts is blessed to have two major food festivals that help people learn about and celebrate healthy local food. Although neither the Boston Local Food Festival nor Let’s Talk About Food was specifically created around Food Day, they’re both great places to build a community around Food Day issues.

Boston Local Food Festival logoThe Boston Local Food Festival (BLFF), now celebrating its 5th year, is a free outdoor event that will take place on Sunday, September 14 on Boston’s Rose Kennedy Greenway (near the Aquarium MBTA stop) from 11am-5pm.  BLFF celebrates “Healthy, Local Food For All” by showcasing local farms, restaurants, food trucks, fishers, specialty food producers, and food and fitness-related organizations from around New England. The festival is a “zero-waste” event that aims to compost or recycle 100 percent of the waste generated at the festival.

The Boston Local Food Festival is produced by the Sustainable Business Network of Massachusetts (SBN) and is built upon the principles of creating a local, green and fair economy. (Disclosure: I’m an SBN board member.) Earlier this year, SBN was one of the organizations that successfully campaigned to increase the minimum wage in Massachusetts. This year’s festival will serve as a launching pad for “A New England Food Vision,” a groundbreaking report from Food Solutions New England (FSNE) that challenges Massachusetts and the New England region to ensure that 50 percent of food consumed is locally produced by 2060.

Mystery seafood -  Photo by Pencil OneThere’s always tons to do at the fest, such as choosing which local restaurants to grab a bite from (servings are all priced at $6 or less), watching chef & DIY demos, and enjoying live music. Since I’m a big fan of TV cooking competitions, one of my favorite activities is the “Seafood Throwdown,” sponsored by Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance (NAMA).

The competing chefs show up with three of their favorite ingredients, but they don’t know which seafood they’ll have to cook with until they arrive. Each chef gets $25 and 15 minutes to shop the Boston Local Food Festival’s vendors for ingredients, then they get one hour to cook.  This year, the chefs from Community Servings and Restaurant Opportunity Center of Boston will try to wow the judges with their skill and creativity.  As I know from watching the shows, it’s harder than it looks!

This year’s festival will feature an enhanced “Family Fun Zone,” where Nourish Boston will teach you how to grow your own plants and the Urban Hydr-“O” Farmers will show you how to build your own hydroponic system.  You can also explore a tidal pool exhibit from New England Aquarium.  And there’ll be tennis workshops and yoga classes, too.

Check out the BLFF festival website for more info.

 

Jody Adams Cooking Demo

Chef Jody Adams (right) leads a cooking demo at the 2013 Let’s Talk About Food Festival

Grow Your Own Collards and KaleThe Let’s Talk about Food (LTAF) Festival on Saturday, September 27, from 11am-4pm in Boston’s Copley Square is a free event featuring a wide range of activities, from food vendors, hands-on cooking demonstrations, and edible gardens to “Kids Can Cook,” “Ask-a-Chef,” and “Ask-A-Nutritionist” tents. Project Bread is running a “School Food Fair,” and the films Cafeteria Man and Fed Up will be shown.

On Friday, September 26, LTAF is partnering with Food Policy Action to present a “Vote With Your Fork” rally at Trinity Church from 6-8pm on why we should consider candidates’ votes on food and farming legislation when casting our ballots. The event features live music, speakers, and legislators. It’s free and open to the public, but registration is encouraged,

LTAF logoThe festival is organized by Let’s Talk about Food–a national organization founded in Boston in 2010 that is aimed at increasing the level of public literacy about all aspects of our food system.

LTAF holds events designed to get people to talk about everything from allergies to agriculture, school lunch to food science. In addition, LTAF has taken a leadership role in trying to improve the quality of the food served in schools.  In my opinion, bringing Food Day principles into the public schools is one of the fastest and most egalitarian ways to ensure that every child has access to healthy local food, so we need more of these initiatives.

Let’s Talk About Food founder and noted food writer/activist Louisa Kasdon says, “Talking about food leads to action about food. Through these conversations, interactive cooking demonstrations and sampling of healthy foods, we strive to educate and empower action in the kitchen—from changing the food our children eat to the food on the dinner table.”

She adds, “It is our hope that Let’s Talk About Food will improve the health of our community, while reducing the impact our food choices have on the environment.”

Here’s information on the LTAF festival schedule.

Can’t decide which festival to go to? How about both?

This blog grew thanks to many.

Neponset_Health_Centers_Apple-Crunch

Neponset Health Centers Apple Crunch with apples donated by Boston Area Gleaners, Inc.

Our blog started in 2012 to create a virtual town common where individuals and groups supporting Food Day can showcase their efforts.  The variety of content, creativity in expression, and colorful images show commitment across the Commonwealth that inspires.

The most popular blog posts of 2013.

How did they find us?

The top referring sites in 2013 were:

  1. facebook.com
  2. twitter.com
  3. boston.com
  4. learningcirclepreschool.org
  5. mass.gov

Special thanks to Sarah Cadorette, the Food Day Organizer who managed our Social Media efforts in 2013.