PITTSFIELD – Not more than two generations ago, most people spent a good portion of their days growing, preserving, and preparing food. Most of the time, that work involved sweat and it always involved dedication. What they didn’t grow themselves, they often bartered for with their neighbors. Communities were tightly knit and interdependent.
Jump ahead two generations where two-income families struggle to make ends meet, and many families rarely sit down for dinner together. More than 60 percent of our population is overweight or obese. Fast, processed “food” is the norm. Instead of relying on neighbors, many rely on huge corporations to fill unmet needs.
But the Healthy Sebasticook Valley (Healthy SV) Coalition wants to change that. The vision behind Healthy SV is to create healthy communities by optimizing the health and quality of life for citizens in the Sebasticook Valley. To that end, Community Health Promotion Specialist Andrea LaFlamme, MPH, recently brought together individuals from across Pittsfield to begin addressing one single and utterly complex health issue: food.
Across the country, food policy councils are popping up as one means of creating broad, community-minded goals and realizing outcomes directly linked to the health and vibrancy of our families, communities, agricultural land, and the environment. In its infancy, the Pittsfield Food Policy Council envisions restoring the social, economic and environmental health of Pittsfield food systems. The members of the council know they cannot do so in a vacuum.
The Pittsfield Food Policy council has partnered with the Mid-Maine Community Forum to host the first in a series of panel discussions aimed at understanding production, distribution, markets and health of the food systems at work in Pittsfield.
“Pittsfield’s Food Systems: the systems, the challenges, and the future of how food happens in Pittsfield”
Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 6:30pm
First Universalist Church of Pittsfield
An increasing number of people are interested in the journey of food from the grower to their plate, whether that food is processed or fresh, conventionally grown or organic, home cooked or bought ready to eat, and how many miles exist in between. A group of six people involved in different parts of Pittsfield’s food system will hold a panel discussion that will help us all understand the different systems at work in Pittsfield and the challenges faced by each. Please join us for some local goodies provided by the Pittsfield Buying Club, learn more about this issue, and to add your voice to the discussion. A question period will follow these local expert presenters:
Bill Carr │MCI Dining Services
Leah Cook │Crown of Maine Organic Cooperative
Heather Donahue │Balfour Organic Dairy
Chris Petersen │Bud’s Shop ‘n Save
Bob Phelan │Vittles Restaurant
Tom Roberts │Snakeroot Organic Farm