Much is happening on the sustainable food scene of late! Jumping right in, Farmer Foodshare is kicking off its Fifth Annual Farmer Foodshare Challenge from September 23-28, 2013 with a Friendly Competition for Health:
FARMER FOODSHARE ANNOUNCES THE 5th ANNUAL FARMER FOODSHARE CHALLENGE
Thirteen Farmers Markets From the Triangle to Charlotte Compete to Support Local Farms and Increase Healthy Food Options for People at Risk of Hunger
Durham NC – September 10, 2013 – Join Farmer Foodshare, over 300 Local Farms, thirteen Farmers Markets and over twenty social services agencies in a friendly competition to combat hunger and increase healthful food options at the Fifth Annual Farmer Foodshare Challenge from September 23rd through September 28th.
Shoppers are challenged to come to market and “Buy Five (Pounds) or Give Ten (Dollars)”. Five pounds of food provides immediate fresh local food assistance and cash donations create a reserve fund for market volunteers to use through the winter to support local farms and provide fresh, healthy food for the agency partners.
“This food is nutritious and therapeutic,” said Lauren Hart, Culinary Director at Club Nova, an agency that serves the mentally ill in Carrboro and Chapel Hill. “Having local food to work with in our kitchen is a huge part of our program. Our members report that the fresh food is tasty and they enjoy trying new foods from the farmers. ”
One pound of fresh food supplements four meals. Farmers market Donation Stations hope to raise enough food and funds to buy food to supplement 20,000 meals or about 400 pounds per market. Markets will have children’s art activities sponsored by BB&T, music, and a raffle where shoppers can win some great local artisanal items sponsored by Counter Culture Coffee, Locopops and Market Street Coffeehouse.
The organization is challenging shoppers to come to market and give 5 lbs of food, which provides immediate relief for families. Or they can donate 10 dollars, as cash donations create a reserve fund for use through the winter.
Why share farm-fresh food? It is currently widely accepted that fresh food is healthier than canned or frozen items, which varies depending on the type of food. According to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern NC, 774,000 people in the area access food assistance yearly. It is quite common to hear of donation requests for canned and non-perishable goods, as this may at times be easier to request, give, and distribute. However, some processed foods pose more of a danger than a benefit with super-high sodium levels, unnatural amounts of sugar, as well as artificial ingredients and preservatives. The CDC reports the following:
Each year in the United States, chronic disease such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes cause 7 in 10 deaths and account for about 75% of the $2 trillion spent on medical care.
Many of these diseases are well known to be preventable with better nutrition and a healthier lifestyle. What a great way to put a dent in the rising cost of healthcare!
But nutrient content is not the only issue.
Dr. Stephen DeCherney, MD, MPH of UNC School of Medicine-Endocrinology, made an interesting point when we spoke regarding the benefits of fresh food.
The real, albeit subtle issue here, however, is variety. There is no question that a diet that varies foods is healthier than one in which the same foods are consumed day after day. Food fresh from the farm varies by day, week, month and season.
So true! One point driven home by any regular farmer market attendance is how the body usually needs the foods common to that area at that time. They may be foods that are lighter, with higher water content, and certain vitamins during warmer months. Then later in the year, one sees more root vegetables, that are still highly nutritive but filling and more heavy during winter months. The seasonality of the food is just as important as the food itself. Changes in seasons bring about changes in weather and activity, placing different demands on the human body. What happens when families cannot afford to keep up with these demands? A deficiency would result. That deficiency would show up in daily life, as children attempt to perform in school, and adults attempt to perform at work, under already trying circumstances.
This point was driven home by one of the participating farmers, Bobby Tucker of Okfuskee Farm in the Silk Hope agricultural area, near Siler City and Pittsboro.
While we strive for "low input, high yield" systems on the farm, I also see the vast "potential energy" that is embodied in the young recipients of FFS's (Farmer Foodshare) programs that could be ignited through the physical and metaphysical benefits of fresh, healthy food. I also believe that a strong local food system is the most efficient solution to the multiple problems our society faces.
What can each of us individually do to change the face of poverty? What can be done to make our society a better place to live, grow, and succeed? Join Farmer Foodshare in their efforts to better our community. This unique approach to local need will be further considered in an article next week, as more is discussed from the local farmer's point of view.
Happy Local Giving!
Farmer Foodshare Press Release 9-10-13