Healthy Family Practices Meets Everyday Life - "Grow Your Family Strong" Explores The Possibilities.
by Monique from Grow Your Family Strong
What do you get when you bring together nearly 70 remarkable women around a topic that plagues nearly all of us? Great ideas and energy! On June 2nd, Grow Your Family Strong hosted its (pre) pre-launch event, convening a diverse group of women from DC, NYC, and LA to ask the question, ‘Why is it so difficult to integrate healthy practices into our families’ every day lives?’
We heard from experts across medicine, nutrition, agriculture, and social innovation followed by a lively Q&A session. The conversation shifted quickly to OK, I understand the problem, now let’s do something about it! Could we develop practical tools to overcome some of our biggest challenges: lack of time, overload of information, and difficulties in sustaining healthy lifestyles? Is there a healthy alternative to processed foods that involves easier planning, tapping into community learning, and enjoying more time with our families while eating sensational food? That’s the promise of Grow Your Family Strong, and I can see a glimmer of a movement; just over the horizon of happy, busy women (and men) who are finding new ways to nurture healthy families.
I’m delighted to share that nearly 90% of attendees noted their interest to take part in a unique pilot we’re planning for the Fall and/or to support the creation of these tools through a crowdfunding campaign. Many guests offered to host gathering at their homes, schools, and businesses to spread the word. Could it be that the majority of women (and men) are experiencing these same challenges? Absolutely, I say!
My only wish is that my living room was larger to accommodate all of those who expressed interest in participating, however, there will certainly be more gatherings in the future. A sincere thank you to our host committee, Michele Jolin, Cynthia Rouhana, Kavita Patel, M.D. and Kari Leland, R.D. and all of our volunteers including Adeline Rageau, Courtney Haynes, Maureena Thompson, Iain Langridge and Sophie Chaudemanche for their hard work to pull off the event. It’s fair to say that if you showed up five minutes early, you found yourself pitching in the kitchen. Most of the foods were GYFS recipes like the Glorious Green Soup and all were made from scratch (thanks to all of the awesome volunteers!)
I’ll continue to post on some of the rich discussions from the day, the winning healthy recipes (congrats Sarah Van Dyke for 1st place), and share photos, but here is an introduction into this interesting and inspiring afternoon. Thank you to all of you who made it possible.
As a working mom, I’m frustrated by a surplus of conflicting information about nutritional health and a lack of sustainable, practical options for implementing healthy family eating.
As the leader of a national policy organization, I know that:
My inspiration comes from my grandmother, who was diabetic and a couple of years ago developed cancer. I put together a book with information and recipes for her, to try to help her combat the disease. Before she passed away, I asked her: what is the one thing you wish you could have changed? I was surprised by her answer, “I wish I knew the impact that food had on my body.”
I started this conversation, because I wanted to see if someone like me could make a difference in my own family. Often I feel guilty and overhelmed, because I do not have unlimited resources or time and its a constant challenge to keep my family healthy. As women, we are the nutritional gatekeepers of our family: 72% of what children eat is determined by their gatekeepers, and most of those (circa 85%) are women.
The Discussion (Panel of Health and Innovation Experts):
Dr. Kavita Patel, Managing Director of Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform, Brookings Institution:
Kari Leland, R.D., Manager of Clinical Nutrition at Georgetown University Hospital:
Mary Petro, Mount Olympus Farms (which has 60 acres under cultivation):
Michele Jolin, former Senior Advisor for Social Innovation at the White House and current Managing Partner and Director at America Achieves:
GYFS recipes made by volunteers
The Big Idea!
Grow Your Family Strong is a social venture: (pre) pre-launching with a inspiring yet practical community-focused pilot project open to up to 50 families later in the Fall, who will receive high nutrient recipes, community involvement, skills development, grocery lists and planning support. This pilot will guide the development of an online tool and system to precisely meet our complex needs. Other opportunities include serving as an Ambassador to GYFS and financially supporting the crowd funding campaign to develop these community designed tools for all parents.
For more information about how to get involved, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Be sure and visit the Grow Your Family strong blog @
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