Tag Archives: Mission Hill Health Movement

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.

Mission Hill Healthy Food Festival Gathers Many

On Saturday, September 22, from 11 am – 2 pm, four community organizations in the Mission Hill neighborhood of Boston are holding their Second Annual Healthy Food Festival – call it a “pre-Food Day” event.  The Festival will be held in Sheehy Park (between Mission Church and the Parker Hill Library on Tremont), as long as the weather is good. In case we have rain, the festival will move to the Tobin Community Center at 1481 Tremont Street.

The Healthy Food Festival is meant to both provide a lot of information about healthy eating and nutrition and to offer samples of healthy menu items from local restaurants. In recent years, the number of restaurants in Mission Hill has grown, and the quality of those restaurants has increased. Once home to mainly pizza joints and bars (although we still have those), Mission Hill now has many options for pleasant lunching and dining. And local restaurants are eager to find ways to improve their offerings. Mission Hill abuts the Longwood Medical and Academic Area; hospital and college employees as well as neighborhood residents are interested in finding healthier meal options.

Along with institutional employees, our population includes students from the nearby colleges and universities (including a medical school, school of public health, college of pharmacy, colleges of art, and more) and residents of several subsidized housing developments – groups that often lack easy access to healthy food options.

For the Healthy Food Festival, one local hospital, Brigham and Women’s, has volunteered dietary staff to review recipes provided by restaurants to see how healthy they are and recommend ways to make them healthier. Eight restaurants are participating; they are very interested in getting this evaluation and are more than willing to “tweak” a menu item as needed to improve nutritional value. Restaurants will keep these items on their menus, identified as “healthy choices.”

The four community organizations that have come together to create this event share an interest in creating more awareness of the need to eat more healthfully: the Mission Hill Health Movement (www.mhhm.org) focuses on a variety of community health issues, including obesity and diabetes; Mission Hill Main Streets (www.missionhillmainstreets.org) works to improve the local commercial district and support local restaurants; Sociedad Latina (www.sociedadlatina.org) has numerous programs for youth and has held “sugar-free summers”; and the Tobin Community Center (www.tobincommunitycenter.org) provides youth and adult fitness opportunities, among other offerings.

Health institutions have committed to participating in the Festival (Boston Children’s Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Mass College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, and Whittier Street Health Center.) Non-profit organizations that address healthy eating will also be there, including the Boston Collaborative for Food & Fitness, Boston Vegetarian Society, Cooking Matters, the Latino Health Initiative, and Sociedad Latina.

This festival was in the planning stages before we’d heard about the plans for Food Day in October. Exciting as it was to think about joining with a national movement, we decided to keep our event in September (hoping it will be nice enough to have it outdoors). We would like to carry some activities from our event in September straight through to Food Day, especially keeping healthy items on local menus. We are considering sponsoring a specific Food Day event with youth at the Tobin Community Center. And we want to use our Healthy Food Festival to build awareness and excitement about Food Day!