Healthy Food Program to be Held in Wheeling

WHEELING—If you work with food production or feeding children and families in the Northern Panhandle save March 21 for “Growing Food, Health, and Hope,” a day for networking and learning about the current “crises and opportunities” regarding access to healthy food in the Upper Ohio Valley. Learn about food insecurity and pathways to greater food security from the many local groups who are collaborating with this effort.

The program includes speakers from: Grow Ohio Valley, West Virginia University Extension Service and Try This West Virginia; public, private and Catholic schools; Head Start and Wheeling Jesuit University; church and neighborhood gardens; parish and social service groups such as Catholic Charities and Maternal Infant Health Outreach Worker (MIHOW) program; and beekeepers and others.

At the event, The “Garden in Every School” initiative will be described, which will kick-off later this year with a contest open to area schools to win financial, technical and training support to build a vegetable garden. This soon-to-be-announced initiative is being launched through a partnership between the Sisters of Mount St. Joseph and Grow Ohio Valley.

In addition, teachers are encouraged to check with their principals about the possibility of Continuing Education Credits.

“Growing Food, Health, and Hope” will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Mount St. Joseph in Wheeling. The event is free of charge, lunch will be served and door prizes will be awarded throughout the day. Free will donations will be welcomed and shared with local food providers.

The event is open to the public with special interest in participation from schools, universities and church, neighborhood and social service agencies. Space is limited to 100 persons. The registration deadline is March 13. Contact the St. Joseph Retreat Center at (304) 232-8160, ext. 112, to register.

In addition to the educational gardening component, many other areas will be addressed during the program including community gardening. The event is a program of St. Joseph Retreat Center, a ministry of the Sisters of St. Joseph Wheeling Center. Funding is from the Sisters of St. Joseph Health and Wellness Foundation and the West Virginia Catholic Foundation. The diocese is donating printed materials.