Local Food – Local Medicine

Local Food – Local Medicine

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Wiscasset, Maine. On Saturday, March 3rd, Chewonki and the Morris Farm will play co-hosts to the 4th annual Food Security Forum, a daylong gathering of policy makers, hunger relief agencies, restaurant owners, farmers, neighbors and students engaged in improving Maine’s food systems, and securing healthy nutritious food for everyone.

LEFT: CHEWONKI FARM MANAGER MEGAN PHILLIPS. RIGHT: MORRIS FARM CO-PRESIDENT MERRY FOSSEL.

This year’s theme “Food is Medicine: Food Security and Health” – will focus on the connections between nutrition, well-being, and initiatives that link the healthcare community with food security efforts, including a proposed new provision to the USDA under the 2018 Farm Bill  reauthorization by Congresswoman Chellie Pingree. If approved, the provision would establish a national pilot program encouraging physicians to prescribe nutrition – in the form of fresh local produce and vegetables – as part of standard medical care. Members of Rep. Pingee’s staff will be attending the conference, as will the Congresswoman – in the form of a prepared video message to the assembly.

“I care deeply about food issues, because I have the privilege of working in this place, where we have such a direct connection to the source of our food,” says Megan Phillips, Chewonki’s Farm Manager and conference co-organizer.  “There is such care and attention put on the entire food-system here, including the impact it has on all of us.”

Phillips and her team know a thing or two about the challenge of producing healthy food. They operate a diversified organic farm that provides more than 75,000 home-grown meals each year, feeding the hungry students and campers that study and play at Chewonki.

STUDENTS HELP HARVEST AND CLEAN CARROTS FOR THE KITCHEN

“One thing that strikes my heart is how “invisible” the issues around hunger can be,“ says Phillips. “The price of many manufactured goods have fallen over the past decades- you can look at someone from the outside and see they have a nice car, or a fancy phone, and still not know if they had a sufficient breakfast. That feels like a really important point to hold.”

“I care about nutrition and food security as a member of this community, but I also care as a facilitator and a teacher, because I think that my generation, and those above me, are not going to crack this problem alone. The young people we engage with and inspire today, who feel like their opinion is heard and valued, are the ones who are going to make the changes happen.”

According to Phillips, one of the best aspects of the Food Security Form is the dynamic day of dialogue created by attendees from so many diverse backgrounds. In particular, students from three organizations (Chewonki’s Maine Coast Semester school, Cultivating Community from Portland, and St. Mary’s Nutrition Center from Lewiston) will be assisting as facilitators at various sessions.

Programs at the day-long conference will also focus on senior and childhood hunger, nutrition education, food security in local schools, gleaning, and how to utilize social media.

This event is open to any interested members of the public. Tickets can be found on sale at: http://www.morrisfarm.org/events/lincoln-county-food-security-forum-2018