Category Archives: Food Day

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.

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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.

Working Together for Healthy People and Healthy Land

VegetablesWhen Nourish Boston first came together about a year ago, our ambitions were broad: nutrition education, increasing food access, supporting local farmers, encouraging health and fitness, and connecting members of the Boston community with their food, the earth, and each other. A year later, these goals remain unchanged, but building partnerships has emerged as the key strategy in turning any of these ideas into reality.

There is an incredible sense of community in Boston, and there are many like-minded organizations that are working to promote and support health and wellness. Nourish Boston was not the first to imagine a city in which all residents feel a connection to the land and to the food that comes from it. Organizations cannot act in isolation, but rather we must work together in concert to achieve our goals. Engaging both the Boston area community and joining the collective movement of organizations working to make Boston healthy is crucial.

Fresh TruckNourish Boston has collaborated with the Fresh Truck to support their efforts to make healthy food accessible to all and to help individuals and families make more informed choices when food shopping. This past spring, Nourish Boston members joined the Fresh Truck team at Fit for a King, an Urban Field Day at Dorchester’s Martin Luther King Jr. K-8 school. Students and their families received healthy produce from the Fresh Truck, and learned about the sugar content of their favorite drinks, how to recognize a healthy meal or snack among unhealthy options, and tasted mashed sweet potatoes donated by the Haley House restaurant.

FIt for a King

How much sugar is in your drink?

Our volunteers have joined the Dorchester Community Food Cooperative, the Sustainability Guild International, and Earthseed Yoga in offering weekly community fitness and wellness classes to build their Bowdoin Geneva Hub into a resource for healthy activities. We have also worked with Taza Chocolate in a joint online education effort to encourage discussion around the importance of local, organic, and fair trade foods.

It is so important to work collaboratively when it comes to promoting healthy eating and healthy lifestyles. After all, great food is meant to be shared. Growing, sharing, preparing, and eating food with one another builds community.

To celebrate Food Day, Nourish Boston will be teaming up with the Mission Hill Health Movement by providing recipe cards and educational information about nutritional “super foods” at the farmer’s market in Roxbury Crossing on Tuesday October 22nd and in Brigham Circle on Thursday October 24th

In partnering with great organizations across Boston, Nourish is able to complement existing efforts for healthy living— and there are many! We’re proud to be just one of many passionate organizations fighting to improve access to healthy foods and encouraging community members to engage with their health, their community, and their environment.