The grant cycle may be coming to an end but the life-changing habits formed continue on. We held a Kick-off Walk of our Fit-Trail system last weekend. Even through the raindrops we had participants using the system. The additions to the current walking path offer participants a full body workout while they make their way around the park. Hardyston Township did an amazing job installing the system throughout their Wheatsworth Park, which is now a featured park in Sussex County. For our Kick-off Walk we brought a trainer from the Y to help educate participants in proper technique as well as modifications for the different stations. Moms or dads waiting for their children at soccer/football practice, active adults meeting up or a quick workout during a lunch break. The flexibility of the system can suit all workout needs.
We have seen a lifestyle change in our CSA recipient families. When the fields were ready with fresh vegetables and produce our families were a bit apprehensive. They hadn’t ever seen Swiss chard, let alone know how to cook with it. The most they knew to do with a tomato was slice it but most were not big fans of the flavor. With the guidance from the Y and simple recipes to follow the families began learning how easy preparation could be with fresh produce. They have had an entire growing season to learn about different vegetables, mushrooms and other produce. The families find themselves shopping the outer aisles of the grocery store. Not afraid to pick up a fresh vegetable. They are now armed with the knowledge of preparation and the reward of eating healthy.
We started this month with a visit to our farm, Willowbrook Farm. Our farmer, Karen, has been working very hard with her crew to produce some pretty impressive healthy foods for our members. On our visit the three families who are receiving the weekly produce were able to walk the farm and see where their veggies would be growing. There were also some quick facts regarding the many different types of produce the farm would be growing this season. Since the members visited, the veggies are a plenty up here in Sussex County, with great thanks going to Willowbrook Farms! Our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) recipients have been enjoying amazing bounties of vegetables each week this month. They have enjoyed cabbage, sweet peppers, sage, lettuce, snap peas, Swiss chard, radishes and more each and every week.
Our farmer, Karen. She is making a difference in the lives of each of our participants by growing healthy and nutritious meal options. Thanks so much Karen!
The produce is in! The produce is in!! Willow Brook Farms has announced that the crop has come in and we will be distributing farm fresh produce for our three families. The fresh produce will allow our families to enjoy all the benefits of healthy eating while learning new ways to incorporate the vegetables into their meal planning. We are very excited for this kickoff to the Willow Brook Farms CSA and all the families have been invited to a reception this Saturday at the farm to meet with the farmers and see the inner workings of what it takes to get the produce to their tables.
We are making strides in securing a Fit-Trail outdoor exercise system to be installed at Wheatsworth Park in collaboration with Hardyston Township. This exercise system contains instructional signs and exercise equipment designed for the novice wellness seeker or well conditioned athlete. The exercises, done in a circuit, include a warm up and cool down section, which includes the distance walked or jogged between exercise stations.
The Sussex Y has partnered with local Willow Brook Farm to supply our selected Y First families with fresh locally grown high quality organic produce. For over 50 years Willow Brook Farm has been planting a large family garden. Literally preparing meals directly from the garden to the table. That family garden has now grown to over 80 acres of farmed fields. The Willow Brook Farm family has been enjoying the benefits of healthy produce for many years and wishes to share the benefits with their community through their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). In the eyes of Willow Brook Farm – the fresher the better!
One of our goals is to introduce healthy food options for our participating families. Being a part of a CSA is not unlike being a part of a community. Our families will be introduced to the Willow Brook farmers and tour the farm from where their produce will grow. In return for claiming a share in the farm the farmers make sure to offer their shareholders the most quality produce available. Once the crop is ready, in mid-June, the families will receive a package of produce and fruit weekly.
The Y will be supportive to the families in the CSA by sharing with them preparation ideas for their shares. This will be an important step, opening families up to alternative meal options. Breaking away from the overly processed “quick meals” they may be used to preparing. We will show how to make keep meal planning simple and how to utilize all the goodies coming from Willow Brook Farms.
The Sussex County YMCA is proud to announce, we will once again be taking part in the Shaping NJ initiative. We will be partnering with Pioneering Healthier Communities (PHC), Hardyston Township and Skylands Medical Group. Our goal this year includes enhancing walking paths for increased physical activity around Sussex County as well as providing greater access to healthy and affordable food with Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) shares for our participants identified in our Y First program.
Y First is a unique program allowing physicians to prescribe exercise at the YMCA (free of charge for 12 weeks for patients) instead of medication for a variety of chronic diseases where exercise is shown to provide a positive outcome. More than 1,000 Sussex County residents have benefitted from Y First.
Through the Shaping NJ initiative we will be working with our partners to subsidize CSA shares for low and moderate-income families in the county for whom food access is an issue. The YMCA will identify participants in the Y First program who would benefit from such subsidies and will work with our partners and allies to identify additional families for the program. We also will provide nutrition education and recipe ideas to participating families.
The Shaping NJ initiative will promote the many places to walk safely throughout the county by creating promotional materials and launching Sussex County Walks. We also plan to enhance the walking paths in Hardyston Township with exercise stops. Through these efforts, PCH and the YMCA will expand the opportunities for residents of Sussex County to participate in physical activity.