Offer your support to local community-based organizations, like Rogue Valley Farm to School, that are doing incredible work to support a healthier world for kids. If you live in the area, consider volunteering with Rogue Valley Farm to School to help support their various programs. Don’t live nearby? Visit their Support Us page for more ideas on how you can support their work and mission!
Have a fruit tree in your yard or in your community with excess produce? Portland Fruit Tree Project has resources for learning how to harvest yourself! The produce can then be brought to the public-access Fruit Fridge for distribution to community organizations based on needs/wants. If you’re not in a position to be able to harvest the produce yourself, Portland Fruit Tree Project can help for a sliding scale fee.
Read more about the developmental origins of chronic disease to get a better understanding of how chronic disease risk begins.
If you have the means, donate supplies or volunteer time to a mutual aid network in your community.
Find a Veggie Rx program in your area. Make a call or send an email to find out how you can participate as a recipient or a volunteer.
Lots of local farms love for community members to spend time getting their hands dirty and sharing their passion for growing healthy food.
Find out if your local school district has a contract with a vending machine provider. If so, what is sold in the vending machines? Where do the profits go? Research methods schools have used to include healthier snacks, like flavored water and nuts, in vending machines. Bring these ideas to your next school district meeting, and see if a group can be put together to approach the vendor.
Adolescent kids at home? Get them in the kitchen! Make sure your kids or grandkids know basic kitchen skills and how to cook simple healthy meals before they leave home. It will set them up for a lifetime of good health, and make them a sought after roommate!
Is the break room at your place of employment filled with cookies and donuts? Do meetings over mealtime tend toward greasy pizza and soda? Work with your coworkers to implement a healthy meetings policy. Start small by gradually introducing healthier options like fruit and scale-up from there.
The next time you see your health care provider, ask what she/he thinks about the dietary guidelines and what you can do to incorporate them into your family’s diets.
Changing eating habits can be a daunting task. Start small by committing to cook one meal a week using only whole foods. Already meet this goal? Then try going a whole day eating and cooking with only whole foods.
Don’t know how much you weighed at birth? This is a great chance to talk to your mom about what life was like for her while she was pregnant with you. Is grandma still around? Ask her too. It’s a wonderful opportunity for some family bonding and learning more about your family history. How does what you eat now compare to what your mom or grandma ate while pregnant?
The next time you donate food for a food drive, think about real food options that still have a longer shelf life, like unsweetened canned fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes, or whole wheat pastas and brown rice.
Ask a friend or coworker whether they have heard about how nutrition before we are born affects our risk for developing chronic disease later in life. See where the conversation leads, you never know what you both might learn from each other, or the ideas you might spark to make a change.
Involve adolescents in the food shopping and meal preparation process. Giving teens and tweens a say in what foods are stocked at home and learning how to prepare them can influence what they eat. It’s also a great opportunity to spend some time together and talk about the importance of eating nutritious foods in ensuring their long-term health.
Try shopping only the perimeter of the grocery store – the produce section, bulk foods section, fresh meat and seafood counter and dairy sections – since the middle of the store is where all of the packaged, processed stuff lives.
Try to replace one processed food item that you usually shop for with a whole food version. Like boxed rice with seasoning packets? Try making your own. Same goes for soup.
Share a link to an article on social media. Start a conversation with a friend, ask them whether they had ever heard about the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease.
Get friends and family involved in cooking. Prepare meals together with your kids – they’ll be much more excited about trying out a new veggie dish they helped to make. Put together a list of recipes with lots of fresh ingredients you want to try and invite some friends over to make a meal together. Or try those new recipes yourself and bring the leftovers into the office to share with coworkers.
Get your kids involved in meal planning, food shopping and cooking. While you are doing it, talk about what eating a healthy diet based on whole foods can do for them over the course of their lives. Pack the leftovers from the meals they helped make in their school lunches so they can talk to their friends about the fun of cooking with and eating healthy foods.