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National Food Day: Connecting our Communities

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October 24th is National Food Day, a nationwide celebration and movement for healthy, affordable and sustainable food.  National Food Day supports priorities such as promoting safer and healthier diets, sustainable and organic farming, reducing hunger and reforming factory farms.  Actually, Food Day is a year-long event with over 3200 hundred events around the country, and October 24th is the culminating day of this year-long journey.

Great goals, fabulous events and dedicated people are finding creative ways to address the problems that affect all of us socially and environmentally. But what is the purpose of holding so many events? How does it relate to us, to our families and to our communities? Who has time to address all of this when we are overworked and spread too thin? As individuals can we really make a difference?

The short answer is yes, we can make a difference. By becoming part of a community-wide effort we can address the food system issues that are critical to us and to our environment. By joining a group, we connect ourselves with the wider community across the nation.  By involving our children, we teach them that collaboration and creativity may be able to bring down the barriers that separate us.

All of our communities face issues. Open discussions, events and programs that look at public health problems and ways to make good food more accessible and sustainable in our communities do make a difference. By becoming part of the conversation we can ensure that the dots get connected, not only for us, but for future generations.

So, this year we encourage you to get involved. You can find out what’s going on in your area at www.foodday.org. Post your thoughts and ideas on our Facebook page and let us know how you connect the dots!

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Greenease: Green Just Got Easy!

The following blog post was written by Vanessa Ferragut, the founder of Greenease:

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When consumers visit their weekly farmers market, they know where that food has come from. It’s very likely that they spoke to, or interacted with, the farmer or a farm representative at that booth. Roaming the streets, surrounded by neighbors and local businesses, has a way of bringing a community together.

But when consumers dine out, are they preserving this feeling of community? If so, do they really know where the food on their plate has come from?

Greenease is a website recently launched in Washington, DC that brings awareness to the table; the savvy, sustainable consumer’s table.

The website features restaurants that offer local, seasonal, sustainable and healthy food options. Almost 30% of the restaurants on the database have provided Greenease their farm and/or purveyors names.

The quote “we are what we eat” resonates with consumers today more than ever.  Many Americans are suffering from obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other health-related issues very much linked to food. America’s love affair with food is growing, but the country’s awareness of what’s really on the other end of their fork has dwindled.

What consumers don’t know is that the United States has prohibited the use of many toxic pesticides, only to sell these same pesticides to farmers overseas and import the products of these farms back into the United States and on consumer plates.

Most consumers are unaware that almost 90 percent of the animals raised and slaughtered in the United States are from industrial farms. These huge factory farms are simultaneously contributing to negative environmental impacts in their own communities and the demise of the small family farm. And where do you think those hormones and antibiotics fed to livestock are ending up?

Right. Add these to your plates with a side of pesticides.

A consumer may purchase an apple at the Farmer’s Market and gasp at the price, but what they don’t know is that is probably the true cost of that apple. These farmers aren’t receiving government subsidies because they don’t plant “commodity crops” (wheat, soy, corn, rice, etc.) in lieu of healthier fruits and vegetables. And they probably aren’t operating on hundreds of acres and using the cheapest pesticides on the market. These are farmers who care about their land, the next generation of crops and their consumers. This is what the consumer is paying for.

And now consumers can take that feeling of community and local foods with them when they dine out.  Greenease allows consumers to take action in the safety and quality of their food, and in supporting their local farms, restaurants and merchants passionate about the sustainable and slow foods movement.

Get your green on at www.greenease.co today!


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Why You Should Get Your Yoga On

Photo from Arlet Koseian, www.extendYoga.com

Namaste Central Farm Markets lovers and shoppers!  I’m happy to guest blog for Central Farm Markets this week and super exited for our partnership this summer.  Yup, it’s that time of year again!  Not only is it a wonderful time to hit your local farmers market (Pike Central and/or Bethesda Central of course), but we are back at it with our FREE outdoor yoga classes at Pike Central Farm Market.

Last September, we had tons of fun and a great turnout at our outdoor classes.  This summer, we are happy to participate again and offer 3 classes in June and July.  Classes will be on the grassy patch in the center of Pike Central Farm Market on Saturdays: June 8, July 13 and July 27 from 11:00am – 11:45am.  Please bring your own yoga mat, sunscreen and a friend!  Each week, we’ll have a teacher from my yoga studio, extendYoga (less than 1.5 miles from the market!), lead the class.  Check out all the details here.

Outdoor yoga at Pike Central Farm Market last September, led by extendYoga

Outdoor yoga at Pike Central Farm Market last September, led by extendYoga

So when the (awesome) crew over at Central Farm Markets reached out for a blog post about the health benefits of yoga, I thought to myself — wow, I could write for days about this!  There are SO MANY benefits.  I decided to pick my 5 favorite benefits of yoga:

  • Increase flexibility: Since most yoga poses will lengthen the ligaments, tendons and muscles in your body, you will notice an increase in your body’s flexibility when practicing yoga.  The more flexible and strong your muscles are, the less likely you are to injure yourself during other physical activities and in your daily life.
  • Reduce stress:  Yoga is not just an exercise for the body but also for the mind.  Yoga focuses on controlling your breath, which allows the body AND mind to relax.  Relaxation = less stress.  Don’t we all need this?!
  • Better mood: Feeling sad?  Like almost any exercise, you feel great afterwards!  Yoga increases serotonin levels and makes you happy.  Some times my favorite part of my day is seeing students come out of class with that “yoga high” or “yoga glow.”  It’s addicting!
  • Increase physical strength:  This goes hand in hand with flexibility and working your muscles.  I never knew where my arm muscles were hiding until I added a consistent yoga practice into my life.  Many yoga poses require not only focus and balance, but physical strength.  We use our own body weight and use muscles that we might not be using very often, in turn, toning and defining our muscles from head to toe!
  • Maintain a healthy weight: Being a hot yoga junky, I love to sweat.  But have no fear, a good yoga class/practice will have you sweating no matter what the temperature in the room is!  Yoga is a great way to supplement your regular exercise routine and help keep your body lean, healthy and maintain your desired weight.  

  

This blog post was written by Arlet Koseian, who is a small business owner and a lover of food, friends, pop culture, and of course, yoga.  She spends most of her time at her yoga studio, extendYoga, and teaches yoga classes in the community. To learn more about Arlet or take a class at her studio, check out extendYoga.com.