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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Thursday June 20th 2024

First Year Anniversary Celebration January 30

by Janice Barbee

All residents of the four Phillips neighborhoods, Corcoran, Central, and Powderhorn Park are invited to a celebration of the first anniversary of the Backyard Initiative at the Cultural Wellness Center on Saturday, January 30, 2010. You will hear about the accomplishments of the past year, particularly about the assessment of the health of the people within these communities, as well as plans for 2010.

At the December dinner and dialogue meeting, we celebrated the commitment of residents throughout the past year. Participants gave feedback on whether they thought the meetings have been open, empowering, motivating, informational, and useful, and whether they felt that trust was building. The consensus was that the meetings were all of the above, and that trust was building. Several people reported that they had been to 20 – 30 meetings during 2009, including the large dinner and dialogue gatherings and/or the meetings of the Citizen Health Action Teams (CHATs), the Assessment Team, and the Listening Circles Analysis Team.
Focus for December: Healthy Food

Molly Herrmann of Tastebud, a catering business at the Midtown Global Market, spoke to the group about the value of locally-produced food. Local foods are usually fresher, have more nutritional value, and are often less expensive because they have less distance to travel to get to your table. Many of the businesses in the Midtown Global Market sell locally-produced food. She said many small, local farms sell organic produce (no pesticides), but cannot label their foods as organic because of the lengthy and costly process for becoming certified.

A participant said that, because buying organic can be expensive, she has found out which fruits and vegetables have the most pesticides: bananas, potatoes, strawberries, for instance. These are the ones she buys organic.

Herrmann is a member of Kitchen in the Market, a cooperative kitchen in the Midtown Global Market. About ten individual businesses share the kitchen. She will be offering a family cooking class starting in January, as well as cooking classes for youth. The classes will include how to shop for inexpensive ingredients.

The vendors at the Midtown Global Market are committed to bringing healthy foods to the community as well as green practices. Efforts are now underway to have all the utensils and paper plates served with food to be biodegradable, and vegetable scraps are being sent to Little Earth for their composting project.

The participants discussed where they get their cultural foods. Many said it has become easier to find cultural foods. Herrman encouraged everyone to request a food from a vendor if they do not see it. Many vendors will order it for you.

At the end of the meeting, a new CHAT was formed with nine members to look at nutrition and healthy food. It was agreed that healthy food and a robust local food system are essential for a healthy community. Participants talked about the importance of holding on to cultural foods and food traditions, and how their people”'s health suffers when they switch to an American, fast-food diet.

After the meeting, the participants shared cultural foods that they had brought, including Hoppin”' John (with black-eyed peas), Ethiopian dishes, Native American fry bread, and pico de gallo.

Call the Cultural Wellness Center at 621-721-5745 for more information about the Backyard Initiative and the January 30th community celebration.

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