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A love for local food

This first week of the internship finished with a meal and panel at the Nashville Farmers Market. The food was to die for! There was a table full of wonderful food prepared for us, all local ingredients. It included:

  • pork chops (from a farm outside Bowling Green, KY)
  • 3 varieties of tomatoes, sliced, with balsamic vinaigrette
  • corn, picked 2 days ago, straight off the cob, with no other flavorings/seasonings (it doesn’t need anything!)
  • sauteed fresh veggies with orzo and feta cheese
  • squash casserole
  • grilled zucchini and eggplant
  • Eggplant strips baked with cheese and topped with a red pepper sauce

And for dessert: cantaloupe, watermelon, and angel food cake from the market with homemade whipped cream and blueberries. Unfortunately, the blueberry crop ended last week in Nashville, so that was our only non-local produce item.

After enjoying our meal, we had speakers from several organizations, including the Farmers Market, Friends of the Farmers Market, and Food Security Partners of Middle TN, who spoke about supporting our local foodsystem and working to make healthy, local food available and accessible to everyone. This in particular is an area that I’m really passionate about, and it’s something that many people don’t think about as a huge contributor to obesity. One statistic was thrown out that for every grocery store in your neighborhood (walking distance), your risk of obesity drops 11-32%, depending on race. How amazing is that!? And yet, know one thinks of putting more grocery stores in urban neighborhoods as a way to combat the obesity crisis. Luckily, that’s just what Food Security Partners is working on, in a project called “reSTORing Nashville”.

So here I am, full of delicious food, listening to these people talk about how much there is to do in our community to reach people, and this part of my brain is off and running (what else is knew?), planning to go to Boston next, and get my masters in food policy at Tufts, and work to help provide a healthier environment in America. It just seems like being a clinical dietitian, or teaching people about nutrition can only go so far. If the neighborhood/city/country in which they live is so “obesigenic” (no sidewalks, no grocery stores, excessive fast food, no playgrounds or parks, etc), can we realistically expect them to be responsible for living a healthy life? It’s something that really angers me, and I could talk about it all day, but I won’t.  It’s just another reminder that there are so many different directions I could see myself going in after this internship is over, and who knows what will happen?

2 Responses

  1. One of the second years here is a R.D., does nutritional consulting and is on the health policy track for her MPP. So you could also come to Georgetown :)

  2. please tell me more about the eggplant strips baked with cheese…..

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