Did you know that March is nutrition month?
I’ll admit I had never heard of this before until the Foodshare Toronto program was recently brought to my attention.
It got me thinking: this is a month filled with anticipation for spring and for all the wonderful local fruits and veggies that are just around the corner!
I do find it a little disappointing however that nutrition and food awareness is a topic that now needs to be taught. Let’s face it, long gone are the days when the relationship between humans and nature was strong; when the reliance on what the land provided and our survival were closely intertwined.
Looking around, this disconnect is blatantly obvious, with shows like The Biggest Loser, Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution and Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition. In this world of amazing technological advances, medical breakthroughs and industrial revolutions, when did knowledge about our food consumption become so low on the totem pole? When did healthy, real food become more expensive than fake, processed “convenient” food?
Foodshare Toronto is a non-profit organization founded in 1985, with a vision to provide Good Healthy Food for All and address hunger in Toronto communities. The focus is on the entire food system; from growing, processing and distributing, to purchasing, cooking and consuming, and of course the ultimate disposal and composting of food waste – showcasing the cyclical closed loop process.
They have a variety of programs, including; Healthy Lunch Program, Community Kitchens, Fresh Produce Programs in Schools as well as the Good Food Box for homes.
Foodshare also runs an event called The Big Crunch, and on March 7, 2013, people participated in a country-wide salute to healthy and local eating, by joining in on the massive, synchronized bite into a crunchy fruit or vegetable. In 2012, 148,095 students participated in over 260 schools across Canada!
Similar to the Good Food Box, Halton has the Fresh Food Box. I have been participating in this program for two years now and the premise behind the program is to provide healthy, organic, local food at an affordable price. This supports the local farmers in the community and also provides families with fresh fruits and vegetables at least once a month. It educates both adults and kids alike about where that head of broccoli comes from, and learning that helps to bridge the gap and restores that connection between you and the food you consume.
I have been really enjoying my Food Box because it also forces me to try some things I normally would not have purchased, and they also provide a pamphlet with a few recipes to help with using some of the ingredients in the box.
For me it’s a little bit like an episode of Chopped, only a little less dramatic (no spotlights or giant cleaver, but same panel of judges) and perhaps a bit more mundane but it’s still a surprise in every box!
Don’t get me wrong, cooking and buying smart is not an easy thing to do. It involves buying smart, checking labels and knowing what you are looking for. It also takes more time to prepare home cooked healthy meals and may cost a bit more money, but I personally think it’s worth the sacrifices. It instills good eating habits that will last a lifetime – I was lucky enough to get that, and I can thank my parents for it now, even though the “chips only on weekends” rule was the bane of my existence as a kid. It has helped me as an adult and is something I will definitely pass on.
So this month dedicate some time to learn more about the food you eat and where it comes from, and maybe take a look at what you are putting to the curb — it may shed some light on some areas for improvement.