More than 75 people attended Growing Health.

The Food & Health Network co-hosted Growing Health: Healthy Foods, Healthy Communities on April 7 with the Broome County Health Department. The half-day forum focused on healthy, local food procurement and strategies for increasing access to healthy food choices at a variety of organizations. More than 75 people were in attendance, representing community organizations, healthcare systems, private businesses and governments from across the Southern Tier and Central New York.

The day kicked off with a keynote from Dr. Margo Wootan, Director of Nutrition Policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest. Dr. Wootan gave examples of successful policies from around the country and offered tips for organizations interested in adopting policies, like avoiding using industry jargon when speaking to the public and focusing messaging on increased access to healthy food, rather than the removal of unhealthy food.

marog wootan

Dr. Margo Wootan gives the keynote.

The first workshop focused on models for finding, purchasing and serving healthy and local food. The panel included representatives from Broome-Tioga BOCES, TouchPoint Support Services at Lourdes Hospital, Farm to Institution New York State, Capital District Child Care Council and Cornell Cooperative Extension of Broome County. One attendee said they were impressed by the local sourcing that is already being done by institutions, and several organizations said the information from Growing Health will help inform the healthy food policies they’re already working on.

Workshop two featured organizations that have successfully implemented food and wellness policies, including the Broome County Health Department, Broome-Tioga BOCES and Levene, Gouldin & Thompson, LLP. The speakers shared strategies they’ve used to motivate children and adults to try new, healthy foods and activities, including taste tests, contests and group classes. The Health Department also highlighted a grant opportunity for businesses interested in adopting a healthy food policy.

All of the materials from the event are available on the FaHN website. Stay tuned for more Growing Health forums!


Julie Raway explains how Broome-Tioga BOCES’ Rock on Cafe encourages children to try new foods.