Food Day 2013 was celebrated at Cleveland State Community College on Oct. 30. Three of Food Day’s focus areas were highlighted through poster presentations given by the principle of nutrition class of CSCC — support sustainable and organic farms, promote safer, healthier diets and reduce hunger.
The event highlighted local businesses and organizations which closely relate to themes: Glo-N-Grow, from Georgetown, which grows produce in and sells hydroponic towers; and Dixie Does Alpines from Dayton, which produces high-quality, sustainable soaps. Gaining Ground was on hand to share information on local small farmers and provide resources and, throughout the afternoon, forward-thinking farming and gardening practices screened the PBS production of “Food Forward.”
UT Extension from Bradley County was there to highlight healthy eating and healthy choices, along with the Bradley County Health Department and United Health Care.
Related to the theme of undernutrition (reduced access to healthy food resources), food insecurity and the plight of the hungry, the Chattanooga Area Food Bank provided education about its new program, Farm to Family, and presented its mission of providing families with seasonal fresh local produce. United Way explained how it provides assistance in our community and gave information on volunteering opportunities.
The Food Day event also featured The Family Kitchen, a Cleveland nonprofit started by Bradley County High School senior Lindsay Armstrong, who is feeding neighbors in need on Saturdays at the Salvation Army’s Inman Street Coffee House. The CSCC Social Work Club held a successful food drive with the proceeds going to the Caring Place which also attended the event to emphasize what they are involved with in the community.
An afternoon showing of “A Place at the Table — One Nation Underfed” was attended by students, faculty and the public. This 84-minute film touches your heart as you see the struggles folks go through on a daily basis, related to hunger and poverty and how hunger is undeniably tied to the obesity epidemic. Also, the film provided thought-provoking reasons Bradley County should even have hungry people.
“We live in the land of plenty where we do not have a shortage of food and dispelling the myths and misconceptions that people are getting rich off of assistance programs,” said Karen Rutledge, nutrition services director of the North Georgia Health District.
A panel discussion followed the film which focused on local food support organizations. Holly Ashley from the Chattanooga Area Food Bank said they are incorporating nutrition into the Food Bank’s mission, to educate both their clients and the people who donate to the Food Bank.
Dr. Valerie Radu of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Social Work Department told how a project she has her students undertake opened their eyes when they tried to eat on $4.50 a day — the equivalent of what someone with SNAP benefits receives. For more information about the SNAP Challenge at feedingamerica.org.
Reba Terry from the Caring Place informed the audience her organization sees approximately 1,500 different families each month. In addition, its Sac Pac program, which has been moved to CSCC, supplies 450 bags per week to the elementary students in nine schools.
Lindsey Armstrong from The Family Kitchen said people need to be treated with respect and through their program, they get to know the people, treat them well and feed them only what they themselves would eat. Jana Pankey CSCC Social Work professor, said that she works to change the students perception related to people in need of food assistance.
For more information about “A Place at the Table,” visit www.takepart.com/place-at-the-table; or Food Day at http://www.foodday.org.
If you are interested in joining the group to work on Food Day 2014, contact Karen Rutledge at firstname.lastname@example.org.