Winter fest aims for healthier eating

A winter festival with a health conscious goal is debuting in Crown Heights to encourage awareness and healthy eating at P.S. 221 on Dec. 15 and Dec. 17.

The inaugural Crown Heights Winter Fest is bringing fresh food, local vendors, healthy cooking demonstrations, art activities, and free health screenings for local residents. An organizer of the event hopes the direly lacking neighborhood of Crown Heights comes out to support the festival in hopes of bringing back a farmers market into the community.

“We thought of some ways to empower the community to build something and bring in money for fresh food access — because both things are lacking compared to other neighborhoods,” said Nancie Katz, director and cofounder of Seeds in the Middle, who is organizing the event. “We attempt to do something that is joyful for everyone with a cross-cultural and diverse aim because nobody is doing that for Crown Heights.”

Families with kids are encouraged to come as chefs will show children how to make healthy recipes of popular dishes.

“I’m going to make zucchini pizza,” said Barbara Adamson. “This is a way of introducing ethnic backgrounds to eat healthy without eating greasy food.”

Adamson said starting health education with children is a more effective prevention method than with adults because older adults may be set in their ways.

“I prefer to deal with children and I want to teach them that they have alternatives and can eat healthy,” she said. “You can bend a young tree, but you’ll break branches of old ones.”

Visitors will be able to eat, buy, and also get on-site health screenings for high blood pressure, asthma, and even enroll for off-site screenings such as breast exams and cancer services with health providers.

Katz said the disparity between the efforts to bring healthy options to more lower income communities are not being organized enough and Crown Heights barely gets a farmers market once a year.

“There are not many farmers market in minority neighborhoods,” she said. “But look at Park Slope where they have 20-40 markets of fresh food a year, and Crown Heights has only two or three.”

The event will run all day to encourage all the communities of Crown Heights, and Saturday to encourage a bigger crowd.

“Crown Heights Winter Fest” at P.S. 221 [791 Empire Blvd. between Troy and Schenectady avenues in Crown Heights, Dec. 15, 4–8 pm and Dec. 17, 11 am–4 pm.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimo[email protected]

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