Celebrating the Harvest
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Not everyone realizes all the ways they can work with the Cooperative Extension Service. This Summer, West End United Methodist Church contacted Extension for help with an educational nutrition fair for food pantry and community garden participants.
Using grant funds from the The Conservation Fund, West End UMC has provided fresh produce through their food pantry mission work by purchasing produce boxes from the Sandhills Ag Innovation Center (SAIC). The SAIC, located in Ellerbe, NC, is a food hub that offers farmers and food businesses training; shared-used farm equipment; processing, aggregation, and storage facilities; and connections to new markets. During the pandemic, West End UMC started working with SAIC manager Davon Goodwin to provide produce boxes.
Along with a state-of-the-art food pantry building, a unity community food garden was also started during the pandemic. Part of the grant funds were dedicated to providing a celebration to the end of summer that provided education on nutrition. The Moore County Extension office provided four recipe demonstrations and a gardening booth. Recipes were selected from NC State Extension’s food pantry lessons and recipes. They included apple cabbage salad, apple cookies, ratatouille and best ever home fries.
It was a great event that provided something for everyone. 50% of participants indicated that the food demonstration booths were their favorite part of the event. There was music, bouncy houses, pumpkin and face painting, and tours of the community garden. At the end of the day, everyone took home a produce box, provided by the SAIC.
Although some people may know
that Extension can provide resources on nutrition and food demonstrations, there are so many ways to engage Extension community resources. One way churches can get engaged is through a program called FaithFul Families Thriving Communities. This program trains lay leaders to co-teach 9 lessons on healthy eating and physical activity. Another program teaches food safety to those who do community meals to prevent the spread of foodborne illness.
Reach out to FCS agent, Janice Roberts, if you are interested in any of the programs above. Call our office to see how Extension can help you.