Category Archives: Boston

Powisset Farm Cooks Up a Local Food Feast

Barn Dinner 8.30.15

If you have been to Powisset Farm, you know it’s a special place. Not only easy on the eye, but a place where everybody knows your name, where everyone knows their farmer (Meryl Latronica) and where you can go to get away from the oh-so-close but so far city.

Barn DinnerLine

On Friday October 23rd, Powisset Farm will be hosting their first (of many, hopefully) Fall Farm Dinner where people from the community will come together as “the last hurrah” of the season before we switch gears to winter crops and indoor activity. The meal will be catered by Heritage Food Truck Company and will incorporate produce from the farm. Jack’s Abbey Craft Lagers (Framingham) and Far from the Tree cider (Salem) will be joining to provide local beverages, while the Railroad House Band will be providing entertainment for the night.

We are participating in the Food Day celebration not only to bring awareness of the food grown literally right outside our front door, but as a celebration and  a way of bringing together a community – of new friends and old.

Powisset Farm is located at 37 Powisset Street in Dover, MA. To register for the Powisset Farm Fall Farm Dinner, click here or contact Nicole at nnacamuli@thetrustees.org or 508.785.0339 x3003.

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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

 

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?

The Cambridge Weekend Backpack Program Tackles Childhood Food Insecurity

alanna ashia packing
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.

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.