Campaign expands nutrition education

January 29, 2009 6:42:42 AM PST
A state campaign known as Network for a Healthy California is expanding its nutrition education by way of local farmers' markets. A California education grant is reaching out to people with low-incomes, but the message applies to all.The brussels sprout -- it's a bold, bright green winter-season vegetable and for those less-versed veggie connoisseurs - it's technical definition is a 'plant of the mustard family that bears small edible green heads on its stem'. Why care? - it's one of those foods that falls into the healthy category.

"All of the diseases that people are suffering from now, whether it's diabetes or heart disease or a lot of cancers are due to diet, to poor diet and not getting enough fruits and vegetables," said Sarah Nelson, Pacific Coast Farmers' Market Association.

Nelson is engaged in a new nutrition education campaign to improve people's health through eating fresh, locally-grown fruits and vegetables.

With the support of a three year grant from the California Department of Public Health, the Pacific Coast Farmers' Market Association is trying to encourage healthy lifestyles through nutrition education. It's reaching out to low-income residents with live cooking demonstrations at food stamp and WIC offices throughout the Bay Area.

"Cooking it just a little bit leaves a lot of those nutrients and nutritional properties behind," said Chef Greg Mann, Pacific Farmers' Market Association.

Mann is one of the association's chefs teaching healthy recipes using seasonal, local produce. Today's tasty recipe - is golden-crusted brussels sprouts, with a bit of garlic and grated cheese. During this demonstration at a San Francisco welfare office, the brussels sprouts recipe caught many by surprise.

"Sometimes I don't eat like vegetables. I don't really like it, but that one is good," said Lety Monterroso, WIC client.

"It was real simple, healthy," said Carmen Bonilla of WIC.

"I usually don't eat brussel sprouts, but this is pretty good. It usually is too bitter," said a WIC client.

"Some kids they don't like vegetable but this one I like it. I want to try it at home," said Marsha Baria, WIC client.

"You think you can get the kids to eat it?" asked ABC7's Teresa Garcia.

"Yeah," said Baria.

So the hope is perhaps with a little nudge here and there, more people will visit a farmers market in their community to boost their nutrition, and more.v "There are so many other benefits -- you're supporting the local economy, you're getting to know the people who grow your food. I mean you're not going to have a health scare at the farmers' market with salmonella or e-coli, because you know exactly where your food came from and it's traceable," said Nelson.

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