This month, we're sharing information on our newest initiative out of the Chronic Disease Prevention & Control Division! The Boston Partnerships to Improve Community Health (PICH) project aims to make it easier for all Bostonians to access opportunities to engage in regular physical activity; to purchase healthy, affordable food; and to live in smoke-free housing. Join us as we talk about the importance of each of these efforts in helping to make all of Boston's neighborhoods healthier places to live, work, pray, learn, and play.
Are you eating your fruits and vegetables? We are encouraging Boston residents to shop their neighborhood farmers market for fresh and local food. Farmers Markets are open-air markets where local farmers and food producers sell fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, and other food products directly to their consumers. Shopping at your neighborhood farmers market supports the local economy while giving you access to the freshest and healthiest ingredients available.
The Boston Bounty Bucks helps to make healthy food more affordable by providing a dollar-for-dollar match, up to $10 per day, each time a SNAP recipient shop at a participating farmers market. The Bounty Bucks program was started by The Food Project with support from the Boston Mayor's Office, in the summer of 2008. In that first year, the program was available at seven markets across the city and generated $2,358 in sales. Now in its seventh season, the Bounty Bucks program is now available to Bostonians at 25 markets and is expected to generate over $250,000 in sales of healthy, locally-produced food. For more information on Bounty Bucks click here.
Boston Farmers Markets are packed with a wide range of fruits and vegetables that change throughout the season. You can check out what's in season now by clicking here. In addition to SNAP and Bounty Bucks, many Boston Farmers Markets accept WIC and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program Coupons. Please visit the Boston Farmers Markets website for more information on your neighborhood farmers market.
The USDA recommends that Americans consume 1-2 cups of fruits and 2-3 cups of vegetables every day. Yet, very few Americans consume the recommended number servings. In 2013, 25% of Bostonians reported consuming vegetables less than once per day and 38% reported consuming fruits less than once per day.
Farmers markets can be a great way to help all of us fill the gap and meet our recommended servings. Here are just a few of the benefits of eating more fruits and vegetables:
- Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of some type of cancers and other chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes and heart disease.
- Fruits and vegetables provide fundamental vitamins, minerals, fiber and other nutrients that are essential for good health.
- Fruits and vegetables are low in fat and calories, which helps maintain a healthy weight.
For more information on the Boston Farmers Markets please visit www.bostonfarmersmarkets.org and follow @HealthyBoston and #BostonPICH on Twitter and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HealthyBoston.
The Boston Partnerships to Improve Community Health project (PICH) is a partnership of the Boston Alliance for Community Health and the Boston Public Health Commission to make it easier for residents to make healthy choices in physical activity, nutrition and smoke-free housing, by implementing policy, systems and environmental changes throughout the city. This three-year initiative is funded by the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and is working to reduce the prevalence of obesity, tobacco use and exposure, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes in the city of Boston.