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Eating Farm-fresh Produce Benefits Families and Communities

Author: University of Missouri-Columbia

Published: 2011-09-30 : (Rev. 2015-04-19)

Synopsis and Key Points:

Getting back to basics by eating balanced meals and farm fresh produce can benefit families and communities in many ways.

Main Digest

Eating balanced meals, farm-fresh produce benefits families, communities, nutrition researchers say.

Leaders at the recent United Nations meeting emphasized nutrition as critical to producing thriving children, families, and communities. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said a key focus is helping farmers grow heartier crops to nourish families. University of Missouri nutrition experts say getting back to basics by eating balanced meals and farm-fresh produce can benefit families and communities in many ways.

As fall approaches, Robin Gammon, MU dietitian and Stay Strong, Stay Healthy Program Manager, says families can implement healthy eating ideas to mark the new season.

Based on insights from MU nutrition and exercise research and MU Extension programs, she recommends:

Lorin Fahrmeier with MU Extension coordinates the Missouri Farm to Institution/Farm to School project. The project is part of the national Farm to School network that connects schools (K-12) and local farms with the objectives of serving healthy meals in schools, improving student nutrition, providing agriculture and health education opportunities, and supporting local farmers.

"A goal of Farm to School programs is to promote healthy eating choices and encourage families to take advantage of those choices and have fun by trying seasonal fruits and vegetables," Fahrmeier said. "Next time you're at your local farmers market or grocery store, ask your child to pick out something new to try at home. You might be surprised at what they pick! Let them decide if they like new foods."

Family time, dinner commitments, agriculture education and healthy eating are doable even for today's busy families, Fahrmeier said.

Some things to remember:

Gammon is an MU Extension associate in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology, College of Human Environmental Sciences (HES). Fahrmeier is a program coordinator for MU HES extension. Nutrition and health education research is conducted through MU Extension and the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology - a joint department in HES, the School of Medicine and the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources at MU.

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