5-2-1-0: get at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, no more than two hours of recreational screen time a day, at least one hour of physical activity a day and zero sugary drinks.
I’m thinking about that old TV show The Little Rascals this morning. If you’re much younger than me you probably never saw it but it’s about these little kids who were always getting into trouble yet always found a way to bail themselves out by the end, against seemingly overwhelming odds. The tide in their bad luck and gloomy spirits always turned when either Spanky or Alfalfa would blurt out, “I know, let’s put on a show!”
Trying to encourage change in a community around healthy behaviors, like those in the 5210 message is hard work as we are up against some pretty entrenched forces. Thankfully I have a broad group of individuals, organizations and Let’s Go! Champions to work with. Still there is the tendency for us all to feel overwhelmed and gloomy in the work we are trying to do. So every now and then you have to step back and look at all the good things that are happening around us and celebrate. I know, let’s put on a show!
Saturday, the 13th, is the first annual Foothills Food Festival, a celebration of our local food system. A food system refers to that big picture view of everything related to what you eat. It includes farmers who grow food, companies that process, distribute and sell food, and it includes you, the people that consume food. It also includes things like food insecurity and environmental impacts and food waste. And it includes the health and well being of both the people employed in the food system and the people who consume the output of that system.
As I’ve detailed in previous columns, the industrial food system, based on those few commodity crops like corn, wheat and soy, and confined meat lots, is designed to make corporations money at any cost to the health of the environment or the health of their customers. Our local food system produces a wide variety of healthy whole foods with a much smaller carbon footprint while preserving the health of our farmlands and injecting much needed revenues into our local economy.
The Maine Foothills is cultivating a growing local food system. We have farmers who have been around for a while and we have some new farmers who have moved into the area; the same can be said of restaurants and chefs. We have a robust community garden as well as a school farm. We are starting to get local food into our cafeterias. We have an army of volunteers growing local food to give to those in need. There’s food growing up and down Main Street in Norway. There’s energy in all of this! You can feel it! It’s time to take a step back and celebrate it! Come on Saturday from 1:00 pm to 9:00 pm to learn and enjoy. There will be food, live music, education and fun!
We’re putting on a show!
Carl Costanzi, Ph.D. is the 5210 Let’s Go! Program Coordinator for Western Maine Health. You can connect with him at the Healthy Oxford Hills building, at 890-6102 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reprinted with permission from the Advertiser Democrat