Monday, March 18, 2013

Food for Big Thoughts: Eat & Live Healthy

Last Thursday, I attended the Inspire Speaker Series presented by the Green Building Alliance and Phipps ConservatoryThe topic:  Food for Big Thoughts:  Eat & Live Healthy.

Phipps Conservatory ©Renee Greenlee
We heard from local experts:  Alice Julier, Director of Food Studies at Chatham University, along with Let's Move! Pittsburgh's new director, Hannah Hardy, Julie Butcher Pezzino of GROW Pittsburgh, and Food Revolution Pittsburgh!

Alice Julier ©Renee Greenlee
The main speaker was Stephen Ritz of the Green Bronx Machine, and the work Stephen has done in the South Bronx is nothing short of remarkable.  Along with folks like Majora Carter, Stephen is re envisioning what it means to live and work in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the United States.  These are folks that have looked beyond urban blight to see beauty and unlimited potential. 

Stephen Ritz ©Renee Greenlee
At the Brashear Association, we also have the opportunity to create solutions to challenges.  For example, last year, we noticed that a lot of the kids we worked with in Allentown, one of Pittsburgh's Hilltop neighborhoods, had the perspective that healthy food was something unavailable to them because they live in a food desert. Healthy food was not just unavailable, it was undesirable, because who really wants to eat their vegetables? This challenge was an opportunity for us to create a healthy food camp through our Allentown Summer Academy.  We wanted to give them a chance to see for themselves what "healthy food" is all about.  We received donations from our board and the community:  blenders, coolers, and cash to buy food.  Our friends at the Hot Metal Bridge Faith Community had a benefit yard sale for us, and the Hilltop United Methodist Church let us use their space. KEYS AmeriCorps and Duquesne University kept us staffed with great folks.  The Grable Foundation, theW.I. Patterson Charitable Fund, and the Birmingham Foundation gave us grants to fund our summer efforts, and of course, where would we be without the PA Neighborhood Partners Program...

©Renee Greenlee
As a result of this community effort to enrich the lives of our youth, we were able to make snacks and smoothies every day for our four-week summer camp. We planted seeds, ate our way through the color wheel, and made art along the way.  We had picnics in Grandview Park and enjoyed visits from the Carnegie Library and Kristin Hughes of Fitwits.  It was a great summer, and this summer, we're going to do it again.  This time, with your help, we hope to make it even better.  


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