The final 2019 session of Muskegon Prescribes Food for Health (MPFH) ended this week, and we are so thankful for the partners that help us to make MPFH such a success. We especially want to thank the staff at Grand Rapids YMCA, who facilitated the cooking/nutrition education for participants. Check out what Sherri Slater, a YMCA Nutrition Educator and “Cooking Matters” Coordinator had to say about the summer on the farm!
“It seems that we continue to learn that one of the fastest ways to create a family out of new acquaintances, is through food. In my experience, I haven't seen anything that creates community faster than getting a new group of people involved in the hands-on process of cooking from scratch. In every class, we go through each stage together: from washing vegetables to chopping, mincing, combining new spices and colors to the sauteing part where everything starts coming together. It is almost tangible to see everyone's senses activating as ingredients start to sizzle and integrate: a process that heightens the curiosity as well as appetites. And suddenly, sooner than you'd think, we are sitting down and enjoying the food we have prepared together. We laugh, we share, we tell stories, get to know who likes “It” hot and who “not so much”! We learn so much about each other and in a very short period, we have made friends from a former stranger.
Combine this already inspiring experience with the added delight of doing all of the above at the farm in the city, and you have actuated the real-life meaning of “Farm to Table”. Which is exactly what was done this summer. Our participants came weekly to the McLaughlin Grows Urban Farm to share time with the “Birds and the Bees”, literally enjoying /enduring the sun, rain, wind, umbrellas and even misting fans, whatever mother nature threw our way was all added spice to our food experience. It was a blast!
The Cooking Matters Series is a collaboration between Community enCompass and Grand Rapids YMCA. McLaughlin Grows Urban Farm, the hosting location is a project of Community enCompass, as well as Muskegon Prescribes Food for Health/MPFH. Other collaborators have been Hackley Community Care, the medical facility where most referrals are from and Pathways of the Lakeshore, the organization who employs the Community Health Workers who provide regular accountability and encouragement for the participants in their homes. GRYMCA staff teaches and coordinates the cooking Matters portion. Katherine Kaltz is the coordinator of MPFH, and it’s through her efforts we have consistently reached over 20 participants each week, peaking at 36 participants attending one class this Farm to Table session.
This has been an extremely successful program. Creating a community around healthy nutritious food by connecting people to local food resources, reconnecting participants to the health benefits of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, while adding in the joy of cooking together from scratch. All of this goodness is revealing data that indicates a formula leading to better health outcomes, improved lifestyle choices, and a stronger community. MPFH and Cooking Matters on the farm is a summer 2019 success story!”
THANK YOU, Sherri, for joining us on the farm for MPFH. Thank You, GRYMCA!