Local Food

Local Foods for Healthy Eating

A lack of access to fresh, healthy foods can contribute to poor diets and higher levels of obesity and other diet-related diseases. Currently, about a third of US adults are obese and another third are overweight, according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A growing number of children in the United States, one in three between the ages of 2 and 19, are overweight or obese. The number of obese children skyrocketed in the 1990s, thanks in part to an over-reliance on convenience foods and fast-food meals.

“If we judge by its impact on human health, the American food supply is a disaster” says Walter Willett, chair of the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. “Americans consume huge amounts of refined starch, sugar, red meat and very inadequate quantities of fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and wholegrain high-fiber foods. We know from lots of research that this is directly related to an increase in diabetes and cardiovascular disease. We have very direct evidence that the quality of our food supply is directly affecting the rates of obesity in this country.” Willett said.

The National Fruit & Vegetable Program is a national partnership to increase consumption of fruits and vegetables by all Americans. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables every day will promote good health and may help reduce the risk of stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, and some cancers.

The program seeks to do this by increasing public awareness of the importance of eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables every day for better health, providing consumers with specific information about how to include more servings of fruits and vegetables into their daily routines, and increasing the availability of fruits and vegetables at home, school, work, and other places where food is served.

Creating a healthy eating plan doesn’t have to be complicated! Instead of worrying about the minor details, focus on filling half your plate with fruits and veggies for every meal and snack, and keep this in mind … 

  • Emphasize fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products.
  • Include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts. Eat a diet that’s low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.
  • Stay within your daily calorie needs.


Visit www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org for more information and ideas on eating more fruits and vegetables.

Glacial Hills Resource Conservation and Development Inc., a nonprofit organization based in Wetmore, Ks has developed the Glacial Hills Food Center in Horton, Ks. It is a shared-use commercial kitchen facility available to food entrepreneurs who want to start a small food-based business. The food center is part of a Local Foods Initiative which will build a more locally based, self-reliant food economy - one in which food production, processing, distribution, and consumption will enhance the economic, environmental and social health of our region.  

Recent growth in the demand for locally produced food has opened new markets for farmers and food businesses. When consumers buy from local producers and local food businesses, it expands marketing opportunities, drives the growth of local businesses and jobs, and increases access to local, healthy foods.  

The Glacial Hills Food Center is providing cooking classes and cooking skills and provides nutrition information that fosters enthusiasm to eat fresh, affordable fruits, vegetables and other whole foods. This helps mothers develop nutrition knowledge and cooking skills to make healthy food choices on a limited budget. Through interactive cooking workshops an appreciation for wholesome, accessible foods is being developed.  

The Glacial Hills Food Center encourages people to grow their own food by planting gardens and raising more fruits and vegetables or purchasing those items from a farmers’ market. Locally grown food is fresher, taste better and is more nutritious than processed food. Local food is healthier than food that is stored and shipped thousands of miles. Purchasing local foods reduces ‘food miles’ and lowers the ‘carbon footprint’ of our food consumption. It is also good for the local economy - buying directly from family farmers and individuals helps them be successful in business.  

Getting the best value for every dollar spent on food is the key to keeping a family healthy and satisfied in a tight budget. We want to help participants get the most food at the best quality for the lowest cost. It is based on the power of hands-on learning to equip families for a healthier future.

The family-oriented health and nutrition education program engages parents/caregivers and their children in practicing strategies to get the best value for their food dollars. Together, participants will enhance skills for maximizing their food budgets, learn tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and prepare tasty recipes.


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