Massachusetts Schools Celebrate Local Foods All Year Long!

By Lisa Damon

 

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October is such an exciting time in Massachusetts! On the farm it’s harvest time with apples and pears ripening in the orchards and vegetables being brought in from the fields. Students throughout the Commonwealth will be savoring these locally grown foods in their cafeterias as they celebrate the Harvest of the Month with Massachusetts Farm to School. Mass. Farm to School works across the Commonwealth to increase access to healthy, locally grown food in schools and other institutions for the good of our children, our farms, and our communities. Staff members facilitate sustainable purchasing relationships between local institutions and local farms, promote local food and agriculture education for students, and support state, regional and national networking of farm to school practitioners.

 

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In its second year, Mass. Farm to School’s Harvest of the Month campaign successfully promotes a different Massachusetts-grown food each month in K-12, college, and hospital cafeterias. The campaign aims to encourage healthy choices by increasing students’ exposure to seasonal foods while also supporting local farmers and building excitement around school meals. This year over 120 public school districts, nearly 20 private K-12 schools, as well as 7 colleges & universities and 2 hospitals are participating!

In addition to Food Day on October 24, many schools will be taking the opportunity to celebrate the bountiful harvest season all month long, during National Farm to School Month. October is National Farm to School Month and communities here in Massachusetts, and across the country, are finding creative ways to celebrate and sharing their stories every day on the National Farm to School Network blog, on Facebook, and on Twitter #FTSMonth.

 

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In the Northeast, there’s an ongoing photo contest to share what you love about farm to school. Anyone involved with a Northeast farm to school program can enter an original photo, by October 22nd that answers the question: “What do you love about farm to school?” Click here for more info and contest submission guidelines. Great prizes including a Technical Assistance Package and Farm Favorites gift basket are available for the winners.

October has so many opportunities to celebrate local fresh foods in cafeterias! To find out more visit us on Facebook!

Food Day at Babson College

By Rachel Greenberger, Director of Food Sol at Babson College

 

 

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Food Sol is an action tank for food entrepreneurship of all kinds. We live at Babson College (where I got my MBA) and host Babson’s annual Food Day celebration. At Babson, we live and practice entrepreneurship every day, which gives our campus its energy of curiosity, creativity and possibility. As we see it, entrepreneurship is a life skill, a mode of operating in the world and a mindset. It’s available to anyone, and that means anyone can be an entrepreneur. You could be one.

To be an entrepreneur, you assess your desire, identify your resources at hand (e.g. relationships, information, skills), take an affordable action step, learn from that step, and then decide what to do next. You act, learn and repeat.

On October 23rd, Babson Food Day features a “menu” of events on campus stretching across the day. While we’re a business school, our Food Day programs are not geared exclusively toward the business community because food is everybody’s business. Babson Food Day is designed to be open, accessible, inspiring and relevant to everyone. As with all things Food Sol, you can come and go as you please.

Every single one of us is an eater entrepreneur.

Every single one of us can influence our own plates, our families, our communities through food.

Every single one of us is on a food journey.

Every single one of us has a food story that matters.

Come share yours.

Sidekim Foods Celebrates Food Day in a BIG way!

Join Sidekim Foods for their third annual Food day celebration!

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Sidekim Foods is a local Food Service company specializing in wholesome, healthy from scratch meals for various nutrition programs. Since 2008 Sidekim foods has grown to provide over 10,000 Healthy meals daily for Preschools, Schools, and Elderly Programs.

In one week Sidekim Foods will join the nationwide celebration of food day by providing nutrition education and healthy food for a community wide event. What is Food Day exactly?  Food day is an opportunity for everyone to stand up and fight for their health, environment, and work equality. Our food system today is broken and together we can begin to fix it. Celebrating food day and promoting nutrition education is important to Sidekim because they believe that it is possible to deliver high quality, nutrient dense, healthy meals to children and seniors. Sidekim Foods will do their part by focusing their event on children. One-third of America’s children are overweight or obese, and what this statistic tells us is that our children are in desperate need of nutrition education. Nutrition education starts by teaching children where food comes from and the differences between fresh local REAL food and Processed Foods. This year on food day children will get to try different local greens & lettuces and compare them to store bought versions. They will also get to create a Lettuce wrap with local lettuce and other fresh vegetables. This hands on demonstration will get children excited to eat a fresh healthy meal all while learning where their food is coming from. Sidekim will also have other food demonstrations to showcase that creating a healthy from scratch meal can be easy and affordable.  Food Day also presents the opportunity to expose processed foods such as  sugar sweetened beverages and how little nutritional value they offer. According to the American Journal of Nutrition, the consumption of sweetened beverages or soft drinks has been associated with weight gain and obesity. Sidekim will have a “what’s in your drink?” display were both children and adults will get to see just how much sugar is actually in the most popular drinks. Teaching children what’s in processed foods and how these foods can have detrimental effects on their health and bodies is the first step in Nutrition education. Also by showing them What REAL food looks like, how good it tastes, and how great it is for the body, can lead to a butterfly effect of smarter choices, better health, academic success, and a happy life. After all we are what we eat!

Please join us at the Sidekim Culinary Center on Friday October 24th from 5:00pm-8:00 pm

82 Sanderson Avenue, Lynn MA, 01902

There will be various food demonstrations, smoothie samples, educational displays, healthy affordable shopping lists for all, basket raffles, cookbook raffles, various local vendor displays, and recipe cards for all!

Please RSVP By E-mail or Phone!

781.595. FOOD

cgarces@sidekimfoods.com

Eat Local this Winter with the Fall & Winter Farm Share Fair

Nicewicz Farm StandFresh, local food doesn’t have to end with the first frost, even in New England. Explore a new season of New England food at the Fall & Winter Farm Share Fair on October 16 in Watertown! You can meet farmers and representatives from several farm share/CSA programs, as well as some different kinds of local food programs for the late fall and winter.

If you’re new to eating locally year-round, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to see the variety of locally grown food available, even in the middle of winter. You can expect a variety of produce, including apples, beans, beets, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, celeriac, collard greens, garlic, lettuce, onions, parsnips, popcorn, radishes, spinach, squash, and turnips. Some programs offer local foods like chicken, cider, eggs, cheese, fish, maple syrup, pork, wheat, and yogurt. And one offers meal kits, with the ingredients and recipe for a locally-sourced feast.

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If you’re already a fan of local food, you’ll enjoy the variety of farm share programs attending the fair. The fair will have several traditional single and multi-farm programs for the winter months, as well as a grain and bean program. There will also be programs that offer pay-as-you-go, like a local or organic food delivery program – some will even deliver to your door. If you live or work between Worcester and Boston, Beverly and Buzzards Bay, there’s a pick-up site or delivery convenient to you.

Meet your winter food farmer at the Fall & Winter Farm Share Fair from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 16, at the Watertown Public Library, 123 Main Street, Watertown, MA. See you there!

- Becky Prior, Belmont Food Collaborative

New England Health Professionals at MA Dairy Farm, Discuss Solutions to Local Food Insecurity

By: Elizabeth Aurand, Boston University Student, New England Dairy & Food Council Nutrition Intern

 

September 23rd marked the 2nd Annual Health and Wellness Meeting hosted by New England Dairy & Food Council. It is an event that brings together some of the most creative nutrition and health focused minds from Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts to form a think tank to brainstorm ideas and goals for the coming year. The meeting embodied many themes around Food Day including the connection between food and farming and solutions to food insecurity in our region.

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NEDFC and their Health and Wellness Advisory Council tour Great Brook Farm State Park in Carlisle, MA

 

The morning began with a tour of Great Brook Farm State Park in Carlisle, MA led by dairy farmer Marlow Duffy. This farm is a property of the Department of Recreation and Conservation (DCR). This was a wonderful opportunity to be able to visit a working dairy farm. Being from Ohio, I am not a stranger to farms, but this was my first trip to a dairy farm. Perhaps more impressively, this is the only dairy farm in Massachusetts with a robotic milker. This machine is entirely hands free, and the cows choose to visit the milker on their own accord. We were able to watch a cow mosey into the milker where the robot went through the process of milking the cow. I heard Marlow describe the robotic milker at a previous event, but I did not truly understand the machine until I witnessed it in person. It is something you have to see to believe. My favorite part was getting to pet the cows who were quite curious about who was visiting their barn. Minutes after we left the farm, Marlow let us know that a calf had just been born which the group had the honor of naming, Autumn. The tour of the farm provided insight into where milk comes from and the amount of work it requires to produce such a quality product.

 

 

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Elizabeth Aurand meets a dairy cow!

After returning from the farm, it was time to get down to business. The topics for discussion centered on programs that New England Dairy & Food Council are looking to improve and build on over the next year. This meeting looks to combine the expertise and unique points of view that each attendee brings to work on creative solutions and ideas. As a dietetic student, it was an honor to talk with such influential people and hear how they would approach situations based on their past experiences. Amidst all the work being done, the room was always filled with laughter and an energy that comes from being around inspiring people. It was wonderful to attend an event with people who are passionate about health and nutrition and are using that passion to improve our communities.

 

 

 

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Engaging in group work to discuss the issue of hunger in our communities.

 

 

For the Love of Play

By Elizabeth Aurand

Boston University Student and New England Dairy & Food Council Intern

Food Day is a time to celebrate the many benefits that good nutrition bring to our bodies, minds and overall health. It reminds that that nutrition is essential to the success of our families, our children and ourselves. But healthy eating alone is not enough. Another important part of that puzzle is physical activity! Good nutrition and being physically active every day go hand in hand when it comes to living healthy.

This fall, Fuel Up to Play 60, Quaker and the NFL have joined forces to launch For the Love of Play, a campaign that encourages kids and the adults who care about them to get up and get active for 60 minutes of play a day — at school, at home, and everywhere in between.

On September 16, Fuel Up to Play 60 visited Swampscott Middle School, home of Massachusetts’ Fuel Up to Play 60 Student Ambassador, Tyler, to kick off For the Love of Play. Student leadership is the cornerstone of the Fuel Up to Play 60 program and gives youth a platform to help make their schools and communities healthier places to learn and grow. Tuesday’s event featured speeches by Tyler, Massachusetts dairy farmer Marlow Duffy of Great Brook Farm State Park in Carlisle, MA and New England Patriot’s defensive back, Devin McCourty. As an intern at New England Dairy & Food Council, I was lucky enough to be a part of the team for this very special event.

The day began bright and early with assembling the gym and outdoor area for the event. The décor was fittingly dairy chic with life-sized milk bottles, and plenty of banners promoting the Fuel Up to Play 60 program. (I may have decided what my apartment really needs is a life-size milk bottle. Plans on that are still pending.)

The excitement really started when 750 students filed into the gym receiving high-fives from Pat Patriot himself. The crowd quieted and the speeches began. Some personal highlights were Marlow Duffy discussing the pampered lifestyle the cows on their farm lead. They have their own tempurpedic mattresses shipped all the way from Germany. Now that’s what I call a happy cow! After her speech, the lights in the gym dimmed, and the new Fuel Up to Play 60 promotional video began. It encouraged all kids to get out there and show their favorite way to play. The video faded and the crowd erupted in cheers as Tyler and the surprise guest Devin McCourty came out in a wheelbarrow position.

Tyler and Devon making their grand entrance to a round of applause.

Dairy                             Photo by Robert Castagna

Devin spoke to the students about the importance of nutrition, especially dairy, and to his work as a professional football player. Tyler then held a question and answer session with Marlow and Devin. Marlow told us more their robotic milker, and Devin explained how important good nutrition is to remaining mentally and physically tough throughout the football season.

The event concluded with an inaugural lap outside the school led by Tyler, Marlow, and Devin to kick off the 100 Mile Club. This is a Physical Activity Play in the Fuel Up to Play 60 Playbook that challenges students to walk 100 miles over the course of the school year. The lap concluded with milk for the students, a great way to recharge after exercise and to celebrate the contributions of New England Dairy Farmers!

Devin driving the Fuel Up to Play 60 van with milk in hand.

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Photo by Robert Castagna

For the Love of Play means to be active doing the things that you love most. For me, that means dancing around my apartment, but it could mean something completely different to you. However you play, get up, get out there, and do it! Oh, and don’t forget the milk!

Join the campaign by sharing your favorite way to PLAY on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with #LoveOfPlay.

Boston Area Gleaners

Do you want to reduce the food waste in your community? Yes? We do too! Boston Area Gleaners, Inc. (BAG) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing surplus farm crops for people in need. We believe that the disparity between food insecurity and food wasted is unacceptable, and we strive to close the gap between waste and hunger.

Gleaning is the act of harvesting produce that would otherwise be left in the fields and plowed under. Some of the produce we glean is slightly imperfect and could not be sold at the market, or it was left in the field due to the imperfection of harvest machinery. Whatever the reason, the food is still edible and nutritious! BAG organizes passionate volunteers to go to the fields and harvest anything the farmers cannot afford to pick. Then, the food is donated to various distribution agencies as well as directly dropped off at food shelves in and around Boston. BAG works with over 40 different farms in the Boston Area and has recently expanded to include farms in the North Shore.

This year alone, our volunteers have gleaned over 60,000 lbs of local produce, which is the equivalent to 240,000 servings of fresh fruit and vegetables. Since our inception in 2004, we have rescued well over 1 million pounds of local produce, and we are excited to be growing rapidly each year.

If you would like to volunteer to glean with us, email volunteer@bostonareagleaners.org with your name, age, and hometown. Also, check out our Facebook and Twitter pages!

Come say hi to BAG folks at Flatbread in Somerville on September 23 between 5-10 pm and meet other people who are dedicated to improve the food chain and reduce food waste. Flatbread is generously donating a portion of the night’s revenue to Boston Area Gleaners, and we look forward to seeing you there!

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Gleaners in the Field

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A Farmer Helping us Glean!

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Gleaners in the Field

Community Servings and the Center for Health Law & Policy Innovation of Harvard Law School host “Food as Medicine”

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Patients leaving the hospital are usually discharged with prescription medications. What they are too often missing is a prescription for the food they need to fight their illnesses – an overlooked aspect of care that is having a dramatic impact on patient care and costs.

On Thursday, October 30, 2014, the role of food in healthcare will be up for discussion during the second annual Food as Medicine Symposium, co-organized by Community Servings (a nonprofit organization that provides medically tailored home-delivered meals to individuals battling life-threatening illnesses) and the Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation of Harvard Law School (that advocates for legal, regulatory, and policy reforms to expand access to high-quality healthcare and nutritious, affordable food; to reduce health disparities; and to promote more equitable and effective healthcare and food systems.)

The Symposium, which will take place at the Harvard Law School campus in honor of Food Day, offers an in-depth look at the critical role that nutritious, medically tailored meals and food play in outcome-driven, cost-effective healthcare. Panelists, representing various sectors of the healthcare industry, will speak about innovative new partnerships between food providers and health insurers in Massachusetts, cutting-edge research that demonstrates the efficacy of food as a medical intervention, and policy reform opportunities to further integrate healthy food into routine medical care.

In the continuing debate about how to control soaring healthcare costs, malnutrition and access to food is often ignored, despite its proven ability to decrease re-hospitalization rates, increase adherence to medication and improve energy levels and the overall quality of life for the patient. According to a recent survey by Feeding America, 66 percent of Americans must choose between paying for food or medicine.

Home delivered meals programs, particularly those that offer disease-tailored diets such as renal, diabetic or low sodium, have been incredibly successful. Not only do they provide the nutrients that these patients need to stay in treatment and recover faster, they relieve the individual of the overwhelming stress associated with grocery shopping and cooking for themselves and their families.

Just as important is the potential impact that food as medicine could have on costs. Providing individuals with nutritious meals at home costs about $20 a day, compared to an average Massachusetts hospital stay of up to $2,500 a day. One study estimates that the cost of treating nutrition-risk patients is 20 percent higher than treating a well-nourished patient with the same disease.

A major milestone was achieved earlier this year when The Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation at Harvard Law School released a national report entitled Food is Medicine: Opportunities in Public and Private health Care for Supporting Nutritional Counseling and Medically Tailored, Home-Delivered Meals. The report presented a roadmap for the healthcare industry to better understand the idea of food as medicine. It also explored the ways in which public and private healthcare programs like Medicaid, Medicare and new marketplace health insurance plans can support access to nutritional counseling and medically tailored home-delivered meals.

To learn more about Community Servings, please visit http://www.servings.org/about/mission.cfm

The Food is Medicine report is available for download on the Center for Health Law and Policy

Innovation website at www.chlpi.org.

For more information regarding the Food as Medicine symposium or to register please visit: http://www.foodday.org/jterranova/second_annual_food_as_medicine_symposium

 

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.

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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.

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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