Michigan is the second most agriculturally diverse state in the US and a national leader in the cultivation of apples, asparagus, blueberries, tart cherries, green beans, dry beans, potatoes and squash. Despite our rich produce production, most Michiganders still do not meet the recommended intake of fruits and vegetables and 32% of our children are overweight or obese.
Fruit and vegetables are the cornerstone of good health and lifelong health patterns are often established in childhood. Exposure to healthy habits at an early age can encourage long term health. One of the best places for this positive exposure to occur is in the school setting. Fortunately, a statewide pilot program, 10 Cents a Meal for School Kids & Farms, is supporting schools in infusing more fresh, Michigan grown produce into their menus.
Here in northern Michigan, the summer months reconnect us to our food. From farm stands to farmers markets, fresh fruits and veggies call our attention to the origin of what we eat. While we can’t grow cacao here at Grocer’s Daughter Chocolate (GDC), we strive to stay connected to the origins of our chocolate and to share these connections with everyone who enters the shop.
The Head Start classrooms over at Platte River in Benzie County are instilling healthy habits in kids with help from Taste the Local Difference (TLD). Through the Building Healthy Communities (BHC) grant, this partnership is using funds to incorporate nutrition education into the Head Start curriculum. Kim Micham and Debra Rafferty at Platte River Head Start are working closely with Paula Martin, Registered Dietitian and Community Health Coordinator at Taste the Local Difference. Together, they’re creating healthy snack options that have less sodium, less sugar, more fiber, and more fruits and veggies. But, they’re not just serving up healthier options – they’re also empowering kids and their families to make healthier choices.
TLD would like all Michigan kids to have access to fresh, tasty and local foods. Over the last year we’ve been inspired by the level of engagement we’ve had making these goals a reality at worksites, schools and other community organizations across Michigan.
When kids are inspired, they can do anything, which is why the YMCA hosts a national event each year to do just that! Healthy Kids Day is a national initiative to improve the health and well-being of kids and families, awaken their imagination, allow them to explore new activities and choose healthier habits.
The FREE event on April 21st will be an opportunity for kids and families to explore local vendors, take part in educational activities and learn how to keep their minds and bodies active as they gear up for summer vacation.
Partridge Creek Farms is celebrating Earth Day on Saturday, April 22 by building 50 raised beds across downtown Ishpeming. But they aren’t doing it alone. More than 70 volunteers are coming from across the Upper Peninsula to help as everything at Partridge Creek Farms is a community effort.
The holiday buzz is here— covered in tinsel and flooding your inbox with cyber sales. But a look past the shiny, brash exterior reveals an activity at the heart of the season: gathering together with friends and family.
What brings us all together this time of year?