Archived Story

Food-assessment project continues

Published 4:24pm Monday, October 7, 2013

Responses to a food-assessment survey show Beaufort County residents have definite preferences when it comes to their food sources and diets.

Those preferences were included in responses to a survey related to a countywide assessment of access to local, healthful foods being conducted by the Mid-East Commission and Carolina Farm Stewardship Association.

“I want something fast that does not need a lot of preparation,” reads one response to the survey, according to a news release from the assessment partners.

“The produce that we get in the grocery store is not always fresh,” reads another response.

Another person responded: “I can’t afford to buy as much as I need.”

The responses came during a series of eight meetings held throughout the county to talk about access to fresh food. The meetings took place in Aurora, Belhaven, Chocowinity and Washington during August.

“We received a lot of wonderful input through those meetings and are looking forward to our upcoming community discussions at the end of October and beginning of November. If you couldn’t join us in August, we would still love to have you at this next round of meetings,” said Lindsay Lassiter with the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association.

Eight more such meetings are scheduled for this month and November. At those meetings, attendees will discuss the results of the community surveys and possible options to increase county residents access to fresh, local and healthful food, emergency food access, nutrition education and interest in local farmers markets and community gardens.

“In these meetings, we will be discussing the results of our meetings, surveys and interviews as well as presenting a sketch of what our final action plan will look like, with time reserved for community input and feedback,” Lassiter said.

Meetings will be held at the following dates, locations and times:

• Oct. 29 at the Aurora Community Center, 442 Third St., 10 a.m. or 6 p.m.

• Oct. 30 at the Chocowinity Fire Department, 512 N.C. Highway 33, 10 a.m. or 6 p.m.

• Nov. 6 at the Beaufort Cooperative Extension Service office, 155-A Airport Road, Washington, 10 a.m. or 6 p.m.

• Nov 7 at the Belhaven Community Chamber of Commerce, 125 W. Main St., 10 a.m. or 6 p.m.

The Mid-East Commission and Carolina Farm Stewardship Association will publish an action plan in late November that includes information learned through the surveys and community meetings. The plan will recommend possible solutions to increase local, fresh and healthful food options in the county.

The assessment is being funded by a grant from the Kate B Reynolds Charitable Trust as part of Healthy Places NC, a new place-based initiative that has started in Beaufort, Halifax and McDowell counties. The initiative is aimed at improving the health and overall quality of life for people in rural areas in North Carolina. The trust is funding several projects in the county aimed to increase opportunities for healthy eating and active living.

The Beaufort County Department of Social Services, Beaufort County Health Department, Eagle’s Wings and other community partners surveyed clients on healthful-food access during August as part of the assessment.

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