The Food Problem (Eating Green - part 2 of 3)
The Food Problem
By Talia Whyte
I recently had a chance to talk to Maggie Cohn, director of the Boston Collaborative on Food and Fitness, and 18-year-old Filsjean Chery, a BCFF youth coordinator. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation sponsored an assessment BCFF did last year to look at the eating and fitness habits of residents in five Boston communities - Roxbury, Mattapan, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain and East Boston.
Assessing food in these neighborhoods, they used the following criteria - food intakes, preferences, and expenditures; shopping behaviors and preferences; factors influencing food purchases; and interest in growing food. I wasn't suprised by the results. Growing up in Mattapan, I know firsthand how socioeconomics can affect your food choices. For instance, according to the survey, 57 percent of Mattapan residents said that higher food prices have affected grocery purchases, with 8 percent eating/serving fewer vegetables and 27 percent eating/serving smaller meals. Less than 40 percent of respondents eat fruits and vegetables regularly during the week.
However, 19 percent of Mattapan resident said that they grow their own food, and even larger number have gardens in their yards. Those who don't have gardens have expressed interest in learning how to start one. In addition to the growing number of farmers' markets around the city, there should probably be more investment in also teaching about the virtues of having a green thumb, like some residents in Dorchester.