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Mulberry Street Market to Feature Back to School Fun, After School Snacks | Best Of

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Mulberry Street Market to Feature Back to School Fun, After School Snacks
Mulberry Street Market to Feature Back to School Fun, After School Snacks

The Mulberry Street Market will host a Back to School promotional event featuring Farm to School efforts in Bibb County Schools from 4-7 p.m. on Wednesday, August 15 at the outdoor community farmers' market in downtown Macon. Community Health Works (CHW) has partnered with the Bibb County School Nutrition Program to kick off the new school year and showcase their Farm to School menu items and recipes.

  The primary sponsor of this event is Strong4Life, a statewide wellness movement initiated by Children's Healthcare of Atlanta to promote lifelong healthy habits and fight the state's childhood obesity epidemic. As the local coordinator of Strong4Life in Macon, CHW's partnership with the School Nutrition Program and management of the Mulberry Market are focused initiatives of a grant awarded by Children's to increase access to fresh, healthy foods and nutrition education in Central Georgia.


Kicking off the first week of school, the Mulberry Street Market will host a free cooking demonstration and food tasting featuring a recipe from the Bibb County School Nutrition Program, slightly modified to incorporate fresh ingredients available that day from local vendors. Families will also have the opportunity to sample free healthy after-school snacks and shop the local farmers market for fresh produce, baked goods, eggs, dairy and meats.


The Bibb County School Nutrition Program will also have a booth set up giving away small prizes and school supplies, as well as providing information for parents about their Farm to School program.


In May 2011, CHW helped launch Bibb County Schools' inaugural Farm to School program and served locally grown strawberries and fresh roasted vegetables to all schools in the Bibb County School District. Since that time, the School Nutrition Program has continued to incorporate locally grown foods into the school menu by featuring at least one fresh fruit or vegetable on a monthly basis, highlighting it several times and in as many ways as possible through the "Harvest of the Month" menu feature.


Among other significant accomplishments, the School Nutrition Program has been awarded the Bronze Level of the HealthierUS School Challenge in 27 schools for achieving excellence in nutrition by serving "healthy meals" and creating healthier school environments. The School Nutrition Program has also been awarded a USDA Food and Nutrition Services Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program grant that will allow 17 schools to serve free, healthy snacks during the school day this year.


To further local food consumption in schools, collaboration with local producers is essential. Dr. Cleta Long, School Nutrition Director for Bibb County Schools speaks on behalf of the schools' present and future relationship with local producers.


"I have been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to work with Community Health Works and the Mulberry Street Market to make connections to many of the area producers; building these relationships with local farmers is key to making Farm to School a success," says Dr. Long. "It is our plan to work with local producers to develop a strategy that will allow us to continue to provide locally grown foods year-round, and we look forward to co-hosting more cross promotional events with the market throughout the year."


The Mulberry Street Market is a free, producers-only outdoor community market that takes place weekly in front of the Grand Opera House from 4-7 p.m. The Community Health Works tent accepts credit, debit and EBT cards for market purchases.


Community Health Works is a non-profit, community-based health organization that serves all of Central Georgia. For more information, please contact Chief Executive Officer, Fred Ammons: 478-254-5210 or fammons@chwg.org.  Learn more about Community Health Works at www.chwg.org.

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