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Healthy Eating to get more attention

Emily Arsenault, right, program coordinator with Western Region Sport and Recreation Council, helps Webbs Vegetables’ staff member Bobby-Jo Bridges pack a box for the WRSRC’s Veggie Box program. Council programming this year will place more emphasis on healthy eating.
Emily Arsenault, right, program coordinator with Western Region Sport and Recreation Council, helps Webbs Vegetables’ staff member Bobby-Jo Bridges pack a box for the WRSRC’s Veggie Box program. Council programming this year will place more emphasis on healthy eating. - Eric McCarthy

Western Region Sport and Recreation Council adding new programming

O’LEARY

The Western Region Sport and Recreation Council plans to build on its successful Veggie Box program this year by adding several healthy eating initiatives to its fall programming.

Program coordinator Emily Arsenault says the spot and recreation council is not backing away from its active living initiatives, just giving more bite to the healthy eating component of its mandate. “That’s something we’ve been challenging ourselves to do more of,” Arsenault acknowledged.

The Veggie Box program has been running successfully in Western P.E.I. for about seven years, this year with three market gardeners packing weekly boxes for more than 60 customers. The contents of the boxes vary with what’s in season and, at this time of year, corn, tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots account for a fair amount of the product listing.

As packers become more familiar with their customers, explained Trevor Webb from Webb’s Vegetables at O’Leary Corner, they can pack the boxes to satisfy certain preferences, and if a customer wants to load up on tomatoes for making salsa, or has a liking for dill, the boxes can get packed accordingly. They can also substitute vegetables if there are certain ones customers don’t want.

The veggie box, Webb said, is also an opportunity to introduce customers to vegetables they might not regularly see or use, like leeks, ground cherries and kohlrabi.
Clohossey Farm in Nail Pond and J & L Farm in Arlington are the other suppliers for the program.

Arsenault said a Food Security and Agriculture Awareness grant from the Department of Agriculture and Forestry is helping the WRSRC update the veggie box program and introduce new healthy eating programs.

“We’re looking forward to getting some new stuff going,” Arsenault said.

They will be promoting locally sourced foods and conducting cooking classes at the junior high schools, and they will be bringing food-based activities, such as corn boils, into local parks this fall.

Many WPRSC programs are offered free of charge. For any programs where there is a charge, Arsenault said the provincial grant will help to make the programs as affordable as possible.

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