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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Food Works project launches website on local, healthy foods, will host workshops, events

Blue Grass Community Foundation has launched Food Works, an online information center that presents essential, comprehensive news about local food and healthy lifestyles in a fun, user-friendly format. The website, foodworkslex.com, is a source for all things related to food–urban gardening, food preparation and storage, cooking, entrepreneurship, and healthy living.

Food Works is a resource for all of Lexington, but especially for those who live in “food deserts” — neighborhoods that have little or no access to fresh produce and affordable, nutritious food. The Food Works website includes recipes, tips for locating and preparing healthy food, resources for healthy living, and where to turn for help in obtaining food in crisis situations.

Food Works was made possible by grants from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky, in partnership with Blue Grass Community Foundation.

The Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote engaged communities. The Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky works to address the unmet health care needs of Kentuckians by developing and influencing health policy to bring about lasting change.

“Support from the Knight Foundation has been crucial to the Community Foundation’s new emphasis on including and engaging all our local communities,” said Lisa Adkins, president and CEO of Blue Grass Community Foundation. “One of our key projects has been partnering with East End residents to identify priorities and plan for workable solutions that bring about real, sustainable change. The ultimate goal of Food Works is to reach everyone who cares about better nutrition and healthy living, to listen to all opinions, and then to shape policy change to make these visions a reality. Most importantly, we want to make sure that all voices are heard.”

East End residents were actively involved in bringing Food Works to fruition. Youth interviewed their elders and gathered stories to create a written, permanent record of oral histories about traditional foods and traditional food preparation. East End residents detailed their visions for a healthier, more vibrant community. These visions included a reduction of youth and adult obesity, better education, and information about better choices to achieve these goals. Food Works was designed to help make these visions a reality.

But the website is only one component of the Food Works project. Other Food Works activities include community-wide events featuring locally grown food, incentive prizes, on-going discussions about what is needed, seminars, workshops, pamphlets, cooking classes, and direct communication with East End residents who don’t have access to the Internet.

“This project fills a huge void in our community,” said Jodie Koch, Food Works project director. “We could all benefit from better access to information about healthy food and lifestyles, especially as food prices continue to skyrocket. Community support for this project has been just amazing.”

For a complete list of Food Works community partners, visit foodworkslex.com.

“Food Works is a unique initiative,” said Adkins. “It’s the Knight Foundation’s first ever food-related grant, one that can serve as a model for similar initiatives around the country.”

For more information about Food Works and how to get involved, contact Jodie Koch, program director, at jodie@foodworkslex.com.

From Blue Grass Community Foundation



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