Washington, D.C.- The American Heart Association Greater Washington Region hosted a culinary and food immersion experience on October 17th at the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Training Academy in Washington, D.C. This unique experience enabled community members and donors to see a sample of the Family Lifestyle Program. This program strives to increase the health of community members in D.C.’s Ward seven and eight, which is a food desert that lacks access to healthy food resources and grocery stores. One of the highlights of this program is that it involves the only year-round farmer’s market east of the river that provides for both Wards seven and eight, two of D.C.’s biggest food deserts. The program is a collaborative effort between the American Heart Association Greater Washington Region, the YMCA of Metropolitan Washington, Children’s National Medical Center and the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy. Along with improving overall health by providing the community with access to fresh fruits and vegetables through the onsite famer’s market, the program also increases confidence in cooking abilities, knowledge of healthy recipes and an increased sense of community through monthly community dinners.
The immersion experience event had a cooking demonstration and a tour of the farmer’s market stand located at the Nationals Youth Baseball Academy. This was then followed by a simulation of what the program’s community dinners look like. Soula Antoniou, Executive Director of the American Heart Association Greater Washington Region, and Dr. Kofi Essel, a pediatrician from Children’s National Medical Center, spoke to the group about the importance of food access and inter-community relationships to improve the health of Ward seven and eight’s residents.
The event was a huge success and was a great example of showcasing impactful work in the Washington, D.C. community. Through this collaborative initiative, the American Heart Association and its coalition collaborators are helping more community members live their longest, healthiest lives.