Regional Foods Coordinator, Brittany Bethel, Receives State-wide Honor
The Food Access & Health Work Group of the Iowa Food Systems Council (IFSC) will honor individuals and groups across the state that are advancing a food system that eliminates hunger, increases access to nutritious food and improves the health of individuals and communities across Iowa. This year, Dubuque County ISU Extension’s Regional Foods Coordinator, Brittany Bethel, is among the recipients. Award recipients and special honorees will be recognized at the Food Access & Health Work Group Fall Gathering on Friday, October 4 at the Jessie Parker Building, Grant Room on the Capitol Complex in Des Moines.
The Nourish Iowa Awards were established to recognize individuals and organizations who have made a significant impact on the advancement of food security, food access and health at the community, regional or state levels. This award honors those who are making outstanding contributions in the areas of food access and health through public service, teaching, research, extension or public policy and who have implemented creative and resourceful solutions to boosting food security, nutrition and health in Iowa. According to IFSC Vice President Sally Worley, Iowa as an agricultural state has a long way to go to make healthy food accessible to each Iowan. This award recognizes hard work that has been done in the state to help increase food access and improve health.
The 2013 Nourish Iowa Award recipients are Brittany Bethel, Regional Foods Coordinator at the Dubuque County ISU Extension Office; Mark Marshall and Tim Goldman, Garden Coordinators for the Faith and Grace Gardens at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in West Des Moines and Bob Andrlik, Executive Director of Table to Table in Iowa City.
As the Regional Foods Coordinator at the Dubuque Count Extension Office, Brittany Bethel has elevated the awareness of the health and economic benefits of a community food system. She has provided outstanding leadership in mobilizing the community and educating consumers, gardeners, farmers, food service directors, retailers and restaurateurs on how to grow, purchase, store, prepare and savor fresh foods from the region. Brittany is a chef for a locally produced television show called “The Co-op Cookery” in which she prepares healthy meals using foods from the farmers’ market and is able to deliver healthy cooking messages to a wide audience. She also manages the Riverbend Chapter of Buy Fresh, Buy Local. In the words of her colleagues, “Brittany is recognized as a leader in our region, and will lead our community to a more healthful and sustainable future.”
Supporting a healthy community is at the heart of the Faith and Grace Gardens. Led by volunteers Mark Marshall and Timothy Goldman, the gardens have provided nutritious vegetables to low-resource Iowans for more than 13 years. Currently, the gardens at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in West Des Moines provides thousands of pounds of fresh produce to seven organizations that serve low-resource Iowans in the greater Des Moines area. A fellow garden volunteer states “Mark and Tim’s vision has allowed hundreds of volunteers to engage in gardening and learn about healthy eating and living.” Their efforts have encouraged other faith organizations to start more than 20 gardens in the metro to specifically feed low-resource Iowans. The Faith and Grace Garden has partnered with Dowling Catholic High School and provides gardening and entrepreneurial experiences to students.
“Wholesome, nutritious food should not go to waste when there are those in need in the community,” states Bob Andrlik, executive director of Table to Table, a food rescue organization in Iowa City. Table to Table works closely with stores, restaurants, schools, dairies and wholesalers by diverting edible food to agencies that serve those in need. Table to Table is the leading food rescue organization in Iowa and serves as a model of providing nutritious food to food insecure individuals while reducing commercial and institutional food waste. Since 1996, Table to Table has collected and distributed more than 11 million pounds food and a total economic impact of $4.65 million.
The following individuals and organizations also will be honored on October 4 for their commitment to improving food security, food access and health across Iowa. Special Honorees include Angela Tedesco of Turtle Farms, Johnston; Des Moines Public School Food & Nutrition Department; and the Midwest Dairy Council.
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