MooreFit Promoting Local Fresh Food
Continuing its effort to sow the seeds of healthy living, MooreFit is launching its latest effort, "Ready, Set, Grow," a round of classes to promote fresh local foods.
The classes are part of the MooreFit University and center around learning how to grow your own food and exploring local food options.
"We are trying to come up with areas where we can reinforce healthy behaviors," said Roxanne Leopper, chairwoman of the MooreFit advisory committee. "The entire premise with 'Ready, Set, Grow' is to let people know you can grow your own and that we have great local food resources."
Classes begin with kickoff and registration from 4 to 5:30 p.m. March 7 at the Moore County Cooperative Extension Office, 707 Pinehurst Ave., Carthage.
At MooreFit University, participants register for the various classes as space is available. They receive credits for completing classes.
If they complete three classes or activities, they will receive certificates of completion and will be eligible to receive prizes.
"We are trying to build on the movement to get people to start growing their own foods," said Kathy Byron, a master gardener and director of the FirstSchool Garden Program under Communities In Schools.
Byron said one of the main goals of the classes is to keep things easy, enjoyable and educational.
"We just want you to grow some of your own food, to supplement fresh foods for some of the things you might buy frozen or canned," Byron said.
Leopper said there will be classes for gardeners of all skill levels. She said she hopes participants will have success growing their own fresh food and will continue to do so long after the program concludes.
If classes aren't your thing, Leopper said participants can earn credits by volunteering at organizations such as Farm to Table, a local school garden or by touring local farms.
During the kickoff event, participants can even bring a soil sample to get the dirt on what type of plants will grow best in it.
As part of a continuing effort to grow MoorFit University, a corporate challenge is also being incorporated into this semester's event.
Businesses and their employees involved in "Ready, Set, Grow" will be challenged to develop workplace gardens.
Each work site will be assigned a master gardener to help along the way. The best garden will win a prize.
Master gardeners will judge the corporate gardens and select a winner. A charitable donation will be made to the Sandhills branch of the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina on behalf of the winning business.
Several new partners are stepping up to the table to help the initiative, including the Moore County Cooperative Extension and Sandhills Farm to Table.
"Taking a partnering role in 'Ready, Set, Grow' was an easy choice," said Taylor Williams, Moore County Agriculture Extension Agent.
He said the program meshes well with North Carolina's "10 Percent Farm to Fork" program that encourages residents to build North Carolina' s local food economy by pledging to spend 10 percent of their food dollars locally.
"We try to encourage people to source their foods locally," Williams said. "We know that people who grow their own (food) develop a taste for local, fresh fruits and vegetables, which promotes a healthy environment and economic development."
MooreFit University debuted last fall. It offered various classes in three different disciplines - nutrition and eating, physical activity and overall wellness.
The Ready, Set, Grow program is the sixth in an ongoing series of MooreFit initiatives, which began in 2008 as a way to encourage employees of participating companies across the county to eat healthy and exercise.
Contact Tom Embrey at email@example.com.
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