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A Week of Food Celebrations

Marlie Hands Out Smoothies
Marlie Hands Out Smoothies
Last month, The Food Project celebrated Food Day in grand style by hosting celebrations at our offices and farms and attending festive events across Massachusetts. Over a period of more than a week before, on, and after Food Day, TFP staff, youth, partners, and community members participated in food-focused tours, workshops, panels, and more.

On the Saturday before Food Day, The Food Project hosted a workshop and tour highlighting urban agriculture in the Dudley neighborhood of Boston. The event, called "Grown In Dudley," started with a food systems and food justice workshop led by TFP youth interns. Afterwards, interns led the group on a tour of the Dudley Hub, stopping to discuss various urban agriculture initiatives at the Dudley Greenhouse, the Julian, Judson, Dean community garden, the Shirley Eustice House, and The Food Project's farms. Along the way, the group discussed other local partner organizations such as the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative and stopped to admire community members' gardens and raised beds.

On Food Day, Wednesday, October 24, TFP Community Programs Associate Allison Daminger and FoodCorps Service Member Marlie Wilson visited the ABCD Head Start Center on Geneva Avenue in Dorchester. As families brought their youngsters to school that morning, Daminger and Wilson handed out bunches of kale, collards, and Swiss chard free of charge and offered samples of kale-apple-mint smoothies. Families also left with information about how to cook and store various greens and the nutritional properties of greens. Over the course of the morning, they handed out more than 50 bunches of greens. "The collards flew off the shelves," says Wilson, "and people really liked the smoothies."

Later that day, TFP Communications Manager Michael Iceland sat on a Food and Farm panel at Hampshire College to discuss and advise their plans to reinvent their campus food system (see video). Also participating in the panel were a number of The Food Project's friends and partners including farmers from Town Farm and Enterprise Farm, as well as directors from Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA) and the Kendall Foundation. The panel was part of a day-long celebration including farm tours, a farmers' market, and a sneak peek presentation of Director and Hampshire alumnus Ken Burns' new documentary "The Dust Bowl" which will air on PBS later this month.

The celebrations continued the day after Food Day in Lynn, Mass. TFP North Shore Regional Director James Harrison was one of the featured speakers at Lynn's Mass in Motion Kick-Off. An initiative of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the Mass in Motion initiative "promotes healthy eating and active living by changing the environment in which [community members] work and play." Before a packed audience of service providers and local government officials gathered at the Lynn Community Health Center, Harrison talked about the importance of Mass in Motion's goals and the role that The Food Project plays in promoting those goals. He described The Food Project's Lynn farmers' market as a culturally-vibrant, multi-lingual space, offering it as a useful venue for service providers to spread information about healthy living. "Our youth play a key role not only in our market but everything else we do in Lynn," Harrison said. "They are a force for greening in the city!" At the conclusion of the event, Harrison led a contingent of Kick-off Event attendees on a tour of our market, which featured a broad array of fresh vegetables from TFP's farms in Lynn and Beverly.

Also during the week of Food Day, TFP Director of Community Programs Brandy Brooks participated in a panel at Babson College entitled "Food is Everyone's Business" and Boston Urban Grower Jess Liborio spoke at the urban farming panel discussion at the Jamaica Plain Forum. Across the United States, supporters attended over 3,200 events in honor of Food Day 2012 to celebrate healthy, affordable, and sustainable food. For more information about Food Day, please visit http://foodday.org.

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