Celebrate food from field to table during nutrition month

By Contributor
March 2nd, 2011

If given the opportunity to grow your own food, would you know how or what to grow? Do you know what foods grow regionally across Canada? If you answered “No” to any of these questions, then March is a great time to expand your knowledge of where your food comes from and to prepare to get your hands dirty!

Nutrition Month® is here once again so let’s join the Dietitians of Canada in celebrating nutritious local food by learning to follow our food from the field where it’s grown to the family dinner table.

March is that time of year when we start to anticipate spring and all the delicious foods that come along with summer and fall in our region. Purchasing locally grown food for your family is a great way to support local economies while reducing your consumption of foods that have traveled thousands of miles to end up on your dinner plate.

“Noticing where food is grown, visiting local food markets, choosing wholesome, fresh foods more often, supporting community and school gardens, and providing local foods in our workplaces and schools are just a few things we can do to increase support for local foods.” says Tatjana Bates, Community Nutritionist with Interior Health.

Children’s school food programs such as Farm-to-School, a partnership between farms and schools that provides nutritious local foods for students, and B.C. School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program are increasing in popularity. Currently 17 schools in the B.C.’s Interior and Northern regions are offering Farm-to-School salad bars and over 1100 schools province-wide are participating in the B.C. School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program. Programs such as these help children learn about where their food comes from and about the importance of eating seasonally.

If you’re sold on the benefits of buying local food but aren’t sure how to access it, here are some tips:

· Shop at local farmer’s markets, when available, and bring the whole family to participate in the experience.

· Seek out food co-ops, community supported farms, and local fruit and vegetable stands.

· Ask your grocer to feature fresh, local produce when in season.

· Read the labels and stickers on fruits and vegetables to see where they come from. When given the opportunity, choose local!

· Check to see if your area has a produce delivery service from local farms.

· Plant a garden, start a school garden, or join a community garden. Gardening can be a fun and rewarding experience for the whole family

· Support restaurants that design their menus around local foods.

For more information on Nutrition Month visit the Dietitians of Canada website at www.dietitians.ca.

For information on Healthy Eating visit    http://www.interiorhealth.ca/healthy_eating.aspx.  

Categories: GeneralHealth