Tonight we’re making our way to New Haven, Connecticut, for a visit to New Haven Farms—an organization that takes underutilized spaces around the city and transforms them into organic farms. We’re particularly excited to be joining them for their Farm-Based Wellness Program (FBWP).
We arrive at check-in and are greeted by the Community Health Ambassadors. These are graduates of the FBWP who are now sharing their knowledge with current program participants. The Ambassadors give us a quick overview of the program. We learn that it runs from May to October, and each week includes nutrition and gardening education as well as two hours of hands-on cooking. Individuals who participate in the program are low-income adults who have been referred by their healthcare providers because of their risk for diet-related disease.
The night kicks off with a weekly weigh-in, followed by a survey of each participant’s vegetable and fruit intake. We get to move around a little with a quick Zumba session. We then learn about the benefits of proper nutrition and even receive a mini gardening lesson. Finally, we wrap up with a cooking demonstration, and then the group gathers to share a healthy meal and celebrate another successful week in the Farm-Based Wellness Program.
At the end of the night, everyone is sent home with a week’s worth of fresh produce grown on one of the seven urban farm sites in New Haven. We head off with full stomachs, a bit of nutritional knowledge, and a basket of fresh fruits and veggies to make healthy, delicious meals at home. Thank you, New Haven Farms and FBWP, for letting us join you!