If you happen to be in the New Haven area on Saturday, you may want to stop by the lot next to Chabaso Bakery on James Street. Volunteers and staffers from the Fair Haven Community Health Center (FHCHC) will be participating in the Slow Food USA movement called Dig In! While there are events like this happening all over the country on Saturday, this is the only event of its kind in Connecticut.
The whole point of a Dig In! project is to share in the joys of working together as a community to grow food and then break bread afterward. From school gardens to backyard harvest to wherever local projects unite a community, Slow Food wants people to act like a community locally on a nation-wide scale. Much like the events sponsored by 350.org, this is Slow Food USA’s “day of action.” The FHCHC members along with staff from the bakery will join together to paint a mural, plant perennial flowers, and share in a delicious potluck meal.
“By digging into these local projects, our volunteers are not only making a difference in their communities, they are clearly illustrating the incredible momentum that is building around the country toward fixing our broken food system,” said Josh Viertel, Slow Food USA President, in a company press release. “By working together – and breaking bread together – we can build a food system that is good, clean and fair.”
The organic garden that the FHCHC runs, which was donated by the Chabaso Bakery, is part of their broader Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP). Managed by staffer Rebecca Kline, the garden stresses the importance of nutritious food as a way of preventing and reducing the affects of the disease.
“I hope to celebrate together the incredible innovation that this project is, and to have all the big players meet each other, from the owner of Chabaso to the Executive Director to the Diabetes Prevention Program participants and the many other community members who make the project happen on a daily basis,” said Kline. “They don't all know each other, and if they did, I think we could have an explosion of passion and action around health and nutrition in New Haven.”
While Kline is quick to say that managing the garden is only a fraction of what she does with the organization, she is excited about the impact it can have on people’s lives. She was chosen to oversee the project because her background in gardening and farming helped facilitate the center’s desire to incorporate a garden component to their program.
“The majority of the time, my job is to observe, document, communicate and publish the entirety of the Diabetes Prevention Program so that other clinics can replicate it nation-wide,” she said.
The Dig In! project is meant to acknowledge the great success the Diabetes Prevention Program has had at FHCHC. With its implementation, the program has resulted in significant weight loss and increased physical activity among the pre-diabetic patients.
If you’d like to support this kind of project, contact the FHCHC at 203-777-7411 or visit their web site. For more information about Dig In! projects near you, visit the Slow Food USA web site. Make your neighborhood a Dig In! project.