GOVERNOR PATRICK PROCLAIMS FOOD DAY IN MASSACHUSETTS
Hundreds of events held across the Commonwealth to celebrate healthy, affordable and sustainable food.
ROXBURY – Wednesday, October 24, 2012 – As part of a national effort to promote healthier dietary choices and fresh locally-grown foods, Governor Deval Patrick today joined students from Codman Academy Charter Public School at the Haley House in Roxbury to proclaim October 24 as Food Day in Massachusetts. Massachusetts Food Day, coordinated by the Department of Agricultural Resources, brings together hundreds of organizers and volunteers working to spread the message of choosing healthy, locally produced food and advocating for policies that support productive and respectful food systems.
"Through innovative partnerships, we are expanding access to healthy, fresh and locally grown food and protecting the land and water resources essential to sustain local food production," said Governor Patrick. "I am proud to join students and advocates who share our mission of engaging communities in bringing sustainable, affordable food systems to all of our residents."
“With more than 600,000 people in Massachusetts at risk of hunger each day, it is imperative that we increase awareness and access of healthy, affordable food options across the state,” said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. “I applaud the Department of Agricultural Resources for working with community partners to help spread the word throughout Massachusetts to reach more individuals and families.”
Food Day is being recognized nationwide with activities held in all 50 states, with the Commonwealth boasting more than 440 events – the most in the nation.
“Food should be nutritious, affordable and sustainable, ensuring that our communities receive the best that our farms can produce today and preserve them for future generations,” said Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Rick Sullivan, whose office includes DAR.
Governor Patrick assisted Haley House chefs with preparing lunch, using locally-grown ingredients. Flour from Northfield’s Four Star Farms and vegetables from City Growers of Dorchester were used to highlight locally grown products readily available across the state. Lunch was followed by a discussion regarding healthy food choices, local agriculture and access to sustainably grown produce. More schools than ever are forming partnerships with local farms in their communities.
The students who participated in the event are members of a “Nutrition Action Club” at Codman Academy, one of more than 50 Massachusetts school districts that participated in the statewide Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's (ESE) Food Day Challenge to "Eat Real!"
“Massachusetts boasts a strong Farm-to-School program, with 231 public school districts and 89 colleges and private schools preferentially purchasing local agricultural products,” said DAR Commissioner Greg Watson. “When we provide locally produced food to our youth, and their families, we set them up for a healthier life.”
Over 200 schools were served a fresh and local Food Day lunch that also reduces processed foods. In addition to “eating real,” several schools are hosting activities for students, teachers, and parents promoting healthy and sustainable food choices, nutrition education, and celebrating Massachusetts' strong local food system.
As a resource to help residents and visitors find locally grown and produced food on their own, the DAR’s MassGrown & Fresher website, a recent winner of a “Bright Ideas” award from the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, is a one-stop website to find pick-your-own farms, farm stands, farmers’ markets, CSAs, and more.