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OneRouge Community Check-In - Week 130



Week #130

Join us this Friday for OneRouge Week #130 at 8:30am via Zoom. This week’s call will continuation of our series on the driver ‘Lack of access to foods to sustain a healthy life' featuring speakers:

  • Dr. Vincent L. Shaw - Program Director and family medicine doctor at Baton Rouge General Medical Center

  • Susan Hymel – Advocate, educator, renaissance woman

  • SK Groll - Baton Roots Program Coordinator of Operations

It bears repeating that malnutrition in this nation of plenty is real. I think we all know that poverty impacts food access, but do we make the connection that poverty impacts health? We should. The CDC has long touted “Healthy eating can help people with chronic diseases manage these conditions and avoid complications.” There is a link between health outcomes, food access, and food security, but what is that link exactly? And how do we even start to address the issue for ourselves, our communities, our Baton Rouge? Well, that is exactly the conversation we intend to have

Enlight, Unite, & Ignite!

Quick Links: Notes, Zoom Chat, Community Announcements



SK Groll: So I'm SK Groll. I am one of the program coordinators for Baton Roots, one of the projects under the Walls Project. We have a four acre farm at Howell Park, which I know y'all have heard me talk about at before. And we also have 14 satellite sites at 11 of the housing authority communities across East Baton Rouge Parish, as well as three of the high schools. And our whole goal is to turn those spaces into learning labs where folks can access the knowledge on how to grow their own food, some resources/ tools to do that on their own as well as get fresh food when we have it available and just build community with other people around food production, and learning to garden and farm. I think the conversation that I was introduced to was framed as food access and health and the connections there, so in addition to my program coordinator at Baton Root's hat I am a critical scholar of health, and I think a lot about how health equity is really structured. So we talk about the social determinants of health and the social determinants of a lot of things in this forum. But over 70% of health outcomes are determined by those social determinants of health rather than health behaviors. And something that kind of grinds my gears whenever we talk about food is we forget that, right? We forget that the social determinants of health really determine health outcomes and we decide to focus a lot on food behaviors. We just talk a lot about nutrition and cooking and people making choices at the grocery store or in their own kitchen without thinking about what people really have access to. And I'm so excited about the places where we're really pushing that. But if we think about it like a world where people have access to land and access to resources, and access to finances is a world where people also have access to food, right? And so we live in a space where a lot of land ownership has been transferred out of Black and indigenous control. Where like a very small percentage of farmers are Black farmers. A very small percentage of farmers are being able to hand down family farms and be able to economically thrive. And so folks are getting farther and farther from the locations where their food is produced. They're also getting farther and farther away from seeing that process of food production and making spaces where people can get closer to their food being produced and learn more about it and become enmeshed in the process means that we get to also have these spaces of questioning Okay, how can we make more of this? How can we make land more freely available? How can we make this knowledge more freely available? How can we cook with more local ingredients or make sure that these ingredients are in our grocery stores and our corner stores, and in our, favorite businesses and restaurants? I really think that like our goal at Baton Roots is to bring people closer to that process of food production. We're not an industrial size farm. We're not even really producing at scale yet. But we are just one place where folks can learn and get closer to that process. And we're really excited about, working with our partners at Breta, working with our partners at, Three O'clock Project, working with our partners at Topbox and at AHA. All around the city, Geaux Get Healthy, we are to bring people closer to their food and just to make sure that everybody has access to food because it's a human, and so for me, you're never gonna hear me harp on like the nutritional content of food because the healthiest food is the food that people can eat and that keeps them alive. You can't have health and you can't stay alive unless you have access to some food. And so I never really care about the other parts of it, so I care about those of you who do. But I think that just having access to food is such an important thing that we need to really be thinking about on a structural level as well as that individual health and behavior level.

Pepper Roussel: It's crazy talk. Crazy talk. But I'm here for the crazy talk. So we will shift to Dr. Shaw. If you wouldn't mind giving us a an idea of how food and health work together.

Dr. Vincent Shaw: Good morning to everybody. I'm Vincent Shaw. I'm a family physician here in Baton Rouge. I work at Baton Rouge General at the Mid-City campus, I'm also in charge of the training program for the family medicine residents at our institution. So we're responsible for educating the next several generations of physicians that come out. But in addition to that I've done essentially my entire career at Mid City and in the Mid City area. And, in the process working and training physicians, there's been a bigger push for physicians to address social determinants of health as it involves our patients. And that includes being holistic in terms of the approach with regards to nutrition, food security, transportation access to affordable medications and such. And being within the mid-city area. We've seen that a large majority of our patients have limited access to quality foods because if you draw sort of a circle around mid-city I don't know if I shot a gun in any particular direction that I would hit a grocery store. I think the closest one, I think it's Albertson's and Government Street in the 7 0 806 zip code, but, If you look at housing in the 7 0 806 zip code, that's unaffordable for most. So a majority of our patients that we've seen have an issue with transportation. One, there's no food, but if they can get to the food how do they get to the food? So when you look at it, and I used to live off of Foster, which again, there was no grocery store close. It was the convenience store, the dollar. Dollar General. And if you look at it, those are, it's almost like a dollar store next to a fire a firehouse. They are that prevalent within the community. And so when you talk to the patients about, what are you eating? Because they have these chronic disease, and there was a study that was published in preventing chronic disease that talked about folks who come from, and it was focused on the Delta region folks that come from the Delta. There's a higher prevalence of Dollar Stores, which, when they use their SNAP benefits, the cost of food for healthier foods is like 48% higher than it is for, highly processed foods. So we fight that battle in terms of trying to get our patients with chronic diseases to eat properly. So we tell 'em, Oh, you need to eat a diet. But then at the same time, how do we help them secure that food. So as a physician, I'm trying to teach the next generation to assess and address those issues. But as a society, how do we help our patients so that they can eat properly so that, we mitigate these diseases, Because obesity seems to be the number one thing. Because all the foods are like high, caloric, highly processed which can be pro-inflammatory, but we go down that road. But from a medical standpoint, I'm fighting a battle on two, separate two or three separate fronts. One, allowing the patients to have access to get to the clinic because they have no transportation. Two, treat their disease states because some of them have poor health literacy and limited access. And then, When we try to use food as a therapy, they have no access to food because either they can't get there or it's just not available. That in terms of the medical side is how we have to work to address it, and we're constantly trying to teach the new physicians that are coming out that this is a part of not just treating the patient, but you have to treat the community as well.

Pepper Roussel: I will start by saying I wish I would've had that segment like very last, because next week we're gonna be talking about food and transportation, and that would've been an amazing cue up for that conversation. So thank you. I think that a lot of people don't necessarily understand that if you live in a place where you can't necessarily get to, say a grocery store, even if you do get to the grocery, how are you getting at home? How are you getting the food back to where it is that you need to eat it? And it's just it becomes this really vicious cycle. But I wanna unpack a couple of things around food access, food security. When we talk about folks who are safe, pedestrian, as in they don't have a car, they rely upon public transportation and maybe they are close to say a small box store, like a Dollar General or one of those a corner market where you can go and get survival produce like a banana, maybe an onion. What sorts of things would be possible for us to maybe encourage for them? Is it a shared Costco card where, somebody runs from the neighborhood,

Pepper Roussel: What can we do in order to encourage folks to, to get the food that they would need in order to live?

SK Groll: So I can start with the non-clinical answer. Dr. Shaw, you wanna follow up with things from your perspective? So we've been working with Geaux Get Healthy and Healthy BR for years. They've helped us to have the farm started and continue throughout this time, which has been incredible. And we've gotten connected to a wonderful group of partners, which includes Top Box Foods, who's been trying to do food deliveries. They are in New Orleans as well as some other markets and have been for a while in Baton Rouge. And I don't know if Anna or Connor is on this call, so if they are, please speak to that. But they're working now with Clinics Care South and expanding a relationship with Open Health, both in the mid-city area to screen for food insecurity for patients at those clinics. And then to set those patients up with food deliveries to their homes and using that EBT stat match to double the amount of produce that they're able to access through that or to reduce the price of those. That's great because Top Box will deliver directly to the homes and they've been working to figure out that model and pilot it with Our Lady of the Lake North and LSU Health over the last few years of Geaux Get Healthy work. So that's one option. But then I know that other folks on here, including the YMCA, Three O'clock Project, AHA and Top Box are talking about what are the other kinds of ways that we can do food distribution and Tracy and Chelsea from the American Heart Association have been doing some really great work with schools trying to get food pantries set up and food prescriptions set up for students who might be food insecure and that being an access point where there might be availability and transportation, they could happen for families. So there are some either delivering directly to the homes or to community centers and spaces that would be accessible and close to families is one of the options.

Dr. Vincent Shaw: From my time with the military when I was out in El Paso, they did have a in conjunction with the food pantry, they had what's called a food pharmacy where, if they had a chronic disease and their physician prescribed a healthier diet they could take the prescription and then get a sort of pre-selected box with healthier food options available. A lot of times it involved, fresh fruits, produce various sorts that required preparation, but also would lead to healthier outcome reducing sort of those higher processed, higher sodium containing foods. I think in conjunction with the partners that you guys have, working with the medical community to set up dieticians or something where if a patient has a particular disease, let's say diabetes, they can take this food prescription or they can fax it to one of the food delivery services and they can, in turn receive this box of healthier food options as a means of treating the disease. So you're addressing some of that social ill in terms of lack of access to food and lack of transportation, but also addressing that medical treatment using, nutrition.

SK Groll: I think the thing that really excites me about that Dr. Shaw, is the idea that, if it's a prescription, is there a way to leverage insurance dollars or other health dollars to make that affordable and accessible for patients? And I say this thinking about like patients that are on Medicaid and Medicare, but also, how do you make that affordable for folks who have a private insurance plan or maybe who are uninsured, right? How do you set up a safety net for that as well? But I love that idea so much and it excites me.

Dr. Vincent Shaw: In today's world it all boils down to dollars and cents. So if you can, basically approach Medicaid, Medicare insurances, basically level the playing field. Say, Hey, look, these are your outcomes that you're trying to get. If you're spending X amount of money trying to fix all these chronic diseases, if you put the money on the preventative side, then the money you're gonna spend on the back end of the pipe is gonna be a lot less if you spend it on the front end. All they care about is their bottom line. Not that they don't care, at the end of the day it boils down to dollars and cents. So if you can show them, Hey, look, this is the cost savings that you gotta get over the long term. I'm sure that they will be more than willing to sit at the table and say, Okay, what do you guys have? How can we approach it? How is this gonna save us money? And I think that's the bargaining chip that you have to use. And those folks without insurance should still be afforded that opportunity or limited resources. We have to figure out some way of catching national dollars or whatever that's available and using that to help supplement those folks who fall out of that safety.

Pepper Roussel: Because food should be a human right. But that's a different conversation. As we move back into the larger conversation around health and wellness, I am oversharing in this moment, mainly because I feel that it actually does have bearing on this conversation. So the end of August, I was diagnosed as diabetic and we still don't know what kind of diabetes it is. It may triggered by autoimmune issues and doing like tests after tests. But the thing is, my diet has never been the issue. My activity has never been the issue, and it is, I will say, wildly frustrating to have somebody tell me that I need to eat better. And it is also incredibly challenging when someone looks at me. I am smaller, I am thinner than I have been in years, and the first thing well a diabetic must need to lose weight. And so when we talk about food and wellness and I ask questions around how do we get people the food that they need, I wonder, if there is a way that we can be more sensitive to folks who are maybe doing the best that they can. Now, certainly, I'm not saying that everybody who is who is presenting as diabetic on any level hasn't earned it. Family who have it on my maternal side it was largely self-imposed; my father’s seems to be genetic. But what if they just cannot get to Quinoa, or dragon fruit or something else that might be the new hotness around food, What are the ways that, or is there a way that we can be more sensitive to how it is that folks not only interact with food so that it becomes less contentious, but also that we are cognizant that these are adults making adult decisions?

Dr. Vincent Shaw: Part of it is we also have to assess sort of cultural norms. And we all know we have our own sort of cultural norms and you stay with what is comfortable. So it's, you have to get folks to understand and be a partner in their own health with this. So if they have access to some of the things that they aren't familiar with, you have to try and work with them to, or negotiate with them so that they can see that, hey, look, this is not something you normally do. It's okay to go outside of your comfort zone and try it. Becasue we all feel comfortable. There's the comfort food aspect of the Sunday dinner, which is, usually, fried, sliced and laid out. But it's, high calorie and may not be the most nutritious foods or, if the grocery store offers quinoa, is anybody gonna use it? I don't know what that is. I'm not about to try that. It's introducing those types of foods, to the community and saying, Hey, it's okay. It's not Oh, that's not what we do, that's what they do. You have to get over that stigma that certain foods apply to certain people. And so I'm not sure how as a group we could address that the stigmatization of certain foods to certain, sort of culture or ethnic groups. But if they don't have that available, what is the closest substitution to that type of food?

SK Groll: So I, I think that idea reducing stigma around different foods, I think it's great. I wanna check go back to what you said, being oversharing or I think being just really vulnerable in front of all of us and say thank you for that and like grounding that question and your lived experience. I also think that The conversation around like weight and health is incredibly personal to me and it's personal to people in my family. It brings up things for me of like the first time that like a doctor told me to lose weight when I was a preteen. But you go back to literature and a lot of the medical discourse around weight and health is messed up. And I'm so sorry Dr. Shaw, cause I'm speaking as a non-clinician here, but as somebody who is a critical scholar, BMI is predicated on the research of a Northern European mathematician in the 1800s. So it was not ever meant to be this population level global metric to assess bodies like BMI is bunk. It should have been done hundreds of years ago. The fact that we're still using it and using it with any type of credibility and that we're reifying it and that we're re inscribing its validity or its truth in our discourse around medicine is absolutely garbage. It's one of those times when science pretends to be unbiased, but is absolutely biased. It's absolutely biased towards European and Eurocentric body norms. And that doesn't work for all bodies. It doesn't even work for white bodies like mine. And so I think that there's a real thing that we're missing here that I've learned a lot from disability studies. I've learned a lot from fat liberation. I've learned a lot from indigenous scholars that are talking about healing from eating disorders, but trying to undo conversations of white supremacy and how that gets inscribed into food discourse. And I think that there's one just for all of us, clinicians are not a lot of learning to do, to really think about how our conversations about food and bodies have been normed in a particular by white supremacy culture. It's a really hard thing and it requires all of us to go a little bit deeper and to think more critically about the ways that we're talking about bodies. I think about this too as a gender nonconforming person. The way that we talk about normativity in bodies. And we use particular things like blood pressure metrics that we use, things like weight and height and other kinds of particular biometrics. So measuring the body in any form has always been used in a particular way to reinforce what a normal body should look like. And we just know that there's not a normal that works for everybody. And so then it's what does health look like for everybody? And that means that we have to think structurally about people having access to resources and access to, the dignity, the autonomy, the power to self determine what works for them. And what works for me, what works for somebody else, are gonna be different. And that goes to our food choices. Also goes to how we might manage our medications. But really, I appreciate what you said of people, they're adults, sure, but even kids, right? They're gonna make choices that make sense for them and ultimately It doesn't matter whether or not I agree with that or whether or not the literature and the research endorses that. I want, I think that it makes sense for me to live in a world where everyone can do what makes sense for them with their bodies and have the resources to thrive within that. Because I know that's a world where I thrive a little bit better. And so I think that this conversation around food and health is what makes sense for you? And that's so hard because our health is individualized. When we have that meeting with a doctor where we're talking about Oh, this is the results of your blood sugar test. This is the results of this thing, this is what's happening with your medications. It's so individual. But so many people, when I talk to them about their health experiences, have some amount of shame or discomfort or that there is something there that is larger than an individual person. And it's that moment where like we get political when we start sharing those things with each other and being able to build from that collective experience or figuring out it's not just me. There's something that feels off here and it's more than one of us.

Pepper Roussel: Thank you for that, sk. I really appreciate it. And I have to apologize that I have not introduced Susan Hymel before now.

Susan Hymel: I'm wearing my hat as the Health and Taste Fair Coordinator, sponsored by the Interfaith Federation of Greater Baton Rouge and scheduled for November 19th. It's the Saturday before Thanksgiving, and will be held at the BRAC Cadillac. The Federation has been serving a daily new meal in Zion City neighborhood since 1987, and had covid not come, the Zion city would've celebrated its 100th anniversary. It's the second oldest area in our city that had Black home ownership and it's therefore that Habitat for Humanity also started in that area. I'm speaking to one of the history graduates and two, as a non-profit leader and an entrepreneur, and I bring those passions to this. I grew up across the river on Highway 190 on 60 acres of land with a grocery store, bar and fillin station where my father walked through the living room door to go to work. I grew up in West Baton Rouge, and that's only six miles west of the old bridge. In part of my background, having worked for Lano and being the person who answered calls during Katrina seeing what needed to be done in 2016 in the Zion City and Glen Oaks area, and what has happened during Covid time. And part of this, I'm wearing my master gardener's hat, and I go back to that in eighth grade, I was president of 4-H at Holy Family School in Port Allen. I bring my business background as an entrepreneur, as one of the founding Women of Medal, the Micro Enterprise Development Alliance of Louisiana, and what we learned in that process, that bears on dealing with the nine points of poverty, is that we exploited, and I'm using that word on purpose, to take advantage of an opportunity, we exploited the fact that people learn about things by doing them. My mother as a home economist, graduated in 42, and all 12 of us then were raised on how to eat now what they call to eat the rainbow, which is part and parcel of what Pennington Biomedical research does. So in terms of where can you get food, when I went through the Master Gardeners program, my little committee had to create something that we are using in this health and taste fair on November the 19th, and it will be the third time we do this. And that is container gardening. Where did I even learn that? I grew up on 60 acres of land. Yeah, I could drive a tractor, a bush hog, but we weren't planting things in buckets. It came because of Katrina. And the USDA plus LSU ag, then started teaching people every day for about a year how to grow things in a container because it wasn't safe to grow in the soil of oils parish. So what our Master Gardner's program ended up doing was creating a project called Back Step Groceries. And in some conversation with the recycling program in East Baton Rouge, we learned that the largest non-usable plastic that's out there as a kitty little bucket. So we have been planting patio tomatoes in kitty litter buckets. If it gets cold, take 'em inside. We will give that away at our health fair. And we found too that people, depending upon the experience of their families, in an African American neighborhood, did they learn to do other kinds of things with vegetables and eat vegetables beyond what they knew and we found they didn't. So one of the things we have done using both the SnapEd person from Southern and the extension agent from with LSU Eva Davis, is we use Cane's dipping sauce for vegetables and we will be doing a variety of things, of tasting things, of seeing the way the LSU ag program has exploited, meaning to use the that for a purpose of, what can you do if you don't have a yard, if you can't plant in it? So we plant in containers. So in, in doing that kind of thing and giving it away. The flood of 2016 also taught us a lot in terms of what we need to know and how many people are still traumatized when they see water. And then the other thing is to point out that in my research background, both in terms of my graduate program in history, looking at the role that Victory Gardens and learning how to work around the kinds of things that you had to have stamps to buy butter and sugar and canned vegetables. Where does that figure in terms of using that information now? Micro enterprises is something that I was a part of. Metal Micro Enterprise Development Alliance of Louisiana. It then moved on to being taken over by the economic development program of our state. But here is where I think this has great possibility for the people who are part and parcel of Wanton Rouge. And it's that a microenterprise. And if you know the The name of Mohamed Un, a man from Bangladesh who went to Vanderbilt and then looked, took the basics of economics of how you start a microenterprise that's going to answer the needs of people. And so microenterprises are usually less than 25,000 that you start a business with five or fewer people and we emphasize ways that you can do it with food. And so we will be giving away tomatoes planted in buckets and we're working in conjunction with Cleggs in how to do that and working with both Ag schools at that time. Here's the opportunity to all this. We're the only state that has both Ag schools. In the same city. And when you look at the opportunity, Southern Ag Nutrition Program will be involved in our health and taste fair, as will LSU. And one of the hospitals is going to be giving flu shots. So it's how do we help with those kinds of things? What are the ways that we can build upon the strengths of our state, such an agricultural state? And such a variety. And I'll start from there. Ask me whatever question you want. Yes. This excites me because it's a way to feed people and to build upon what grew after Katrina in New Orleans with teaching container gardening of vegetables and because we've got two Ag schools with incredible research units, what we're able to do with that knowledge as we pass it on to people.

Pepper Roussel: That is fantastic. So those of you who have not met Susan before this morning, now you understand when I say she's a veritable Renaissance woman doing all of the things all of the time. SK, can you give me an idea since since you work in growing and Susan as well, maybe as a master gardener, can y'all help me understand, does everybody want to grow stuff? I just believe people do, that they want to be able to walk out of their door, pick their own things and bring 'em inside and eat them? Or have I really just, have I created this entire fantasy where that's just not true.

Susan Hymel: No, I'll tell you this from the Master Garden research of what happened as Covid began. It's the first time in the history of our country that seed companies sold out a seed. That was true even in Baton Rouge and in the New Orleans area. The biggest new venture that took place across our country was gardening. The second thing was bread making and the third was beer making. I'm not gonna go into that last one except that you can use beer to grow things other and do things other than that with, but because of that, there's a great amount of information. And we have 25% of those people who started gardening in all kinds of things during covid still do it, which is incredible.

SK Groll: Adding to what Susan said. Baton Rouge began in 2019 and I think I was not on the team at that time, but I think that Mitchell and Casey really expected there to be this kind of wall at the point that the pandemic happened. And for those of you that are on this call that weren't involved or on the team or in supporting in some way that we've been able gain a lot of momentum and steam since then. With expanding to different garden sites and receiving more volunteers than ever. And so I think we're still hitting that rhythm, but really folks got involved in gardening and outdoors in a different way than they had been for the years before that. What I'll say about that though is that not everybody who wants to come out to Baton Roots and volunteer or help us like plant or weed or harvest, wants to grow their own food at home. It is work. It's responsibility. It's also learning how to make that work for your schedule and your. Base in your capacity and then gathering the resources, supplies, knowledge to actually execute that. And I know for me if there's sometimes it's a new project and it's oh yes, this is my new favorite project and the thing that's bringing me that dopamine. And then sometimes it's Oh my gosh, this has 17 steps and I can't do something that has more than two. So it's something that has 17 steps and that's not gonna work for everybody I think. It will be interesting to see how people take in small bits of those hobbies that they had maybe more time to learn over time. But I also think that it's really figuring out what works for you. So we have somebody at Baton Roots who takes home seedlings every time we have extras and is growing them in five gallon buckets on her back porch and make some morning smoothie every day with those greens. And it's so awesome to see I love getting like picture updates and text updates of that, of how she's making container gardening work for her in a rental apartment. And then there's some folks who wanna show up here. I wanna do exactly what you tell me to, and I wanna take home some veggies at the end of the day so that my partner can cook them for me, but I absolutely do not wanna do this. And so I think with everything it's building in options for folks to engage at their level, at their interest, on their own terms. And so we try to do that with baton roots, like there's folks who come out all the time or get involved in our school gardens or in long term volunteering with us. And then there's folks who wanna just pop out once a month for Sow Good Saturday and see Chef Tracy Vincent and the American Heart Association cook something, or do a little bit of yoga and be in the pretty space of Howell Park, but not actually get involved with taking a plant home and trying to grow it themselves. And then there's folks who come and they're like, Okay, I actually, I have a city yard and a like house in town, but I'm growing on every square inch that I can and I've got this permaculture set up and this storm garden set up and I've got my pollinators here and this is how I'm structuring this. And have a very technical and specific question that they wanna ask Mitchell about composting and making their permaculture work. And I think that we wanna be a space where folks at all levels can engage as it suits them and making more options for engagement so that if folks wanna increase just a little bit, like they wanna go from Okay, I kept a tomato plan alive in a five gallon bucket, now I'm gonna try to like make a small raised bed. Or now I'm gonna try this other thing where I really wanna learn how to like, can and preserve this next year that they have like another option of something to learn.

Pepper Roussel: Brilliant. So I'm gonna ask that Dr. Shaw a question, and then I am going to confess that I'm having a really hard time seeing what's in the chat. So if you have already put a question in the chat, please come off mute or let me know that it's there in some way by raising your hands so that we can get the questions answered. But Dr. Shaw something that Susan said was about eating the rainbow. And I and you've mentioned earlier about culturally appropriate food. I am a huge fan of eating culturally appropriate food. For me, that means that especially in southern South Louisiana, that perhaps part of the things that you'll be eating will be the Trinity, and that's definitely culturally appropriate. But it also means that it may not hit all seven of the colors of the rainbow. So can you help give us a little bit of context around wellness, the colors of the rainbow, what that means for food and consumption.

Dr. Vincent Shaw: Okay. With regards to the Holy Trinity that's a South Louisiana staple. Obviously different foods have different nutritional values associated with them, and ideally when you eat across the rainbow, you're getting the entire spectrum of all the nutrients that are available in terms of eating culturally appropriate foods. Basically, there's nothing wrong with eating culturally appropriate foods. It is, it boils down to moderation at some point. If you want to go out and you want to eat something that's a traditional south, food biscuits and gravy, not a biscuit and gravy guy, but whatever. And that's stereotyping, but whatever it's okay to have that an intermittent, of basis, but for each one of those sort of processed, caloric dense foods, you wanna make sure that you counter that with one of the foods from the rainbow. So you want to, if you're gonna use the Holy Trinay, it's okay to. A food that has like beta carotene which gives foods that orange color. When we do a lot of assessments in terms of healthy eating, we look at folks and one of the biggest things that we find nutrition nutritionally deficit is vitamin D. Surprisingly, you would think, Okay I drink milk, I do all this other stuff. No, but that is one of the biggest nutrient or vitamin deficiencies that we find is vitamin D. So those come from a variety of foods. But obviously, you give and take. So if you're gonna eat something that's not necessarily the most nutritious, then you need to counter that with something from the rainbow. And in an ideal world, you gotta eat something across the rainbow, but none of us live in an ideal world. You've gotta take what you have and what's available and try to incorporate something that's, outside of that norm associated with that particular meal at that time. So the easiest is if I'm gonna get A, then I know I have to do B. And so A and B are gonna counteract each other.

Pat LeDuff: Good morning. I had something in the chat about the Harvest Grocery store that's in Texas. I brought that up before. I still think that's, it's a great model. They have a mini store that's in a trolley, and the trolley goes from neighborhood to neighborhood, like the ice cream truck. And I'm still waiting for someone to say that they're willing to consider bringing that that model here to Baton Rouge. We do have a store like Albertson's and we also have Rouses and then we even have Walmart. I don't know if that's something a big chain would consider, but that is a way to get access to food because they have a little bit of everything on this trolley. Also, I put in the chat that getting back to the basics of when your first, I think probably second, third graders would get an opportunity to, to just plant a bean or a potato and get that experience. But because of our curriculum that's in the school these days, a lot of that they've gotten away from, I know some teacher still implement it, but I think it, if we made it mandatory, that would help our future generations because they would've have experienced it before we get to a point where we're trying to make them experience it.

Pepper Roussel: Very good. So you grow the potato in the third grade and then you use it for electricity in the sixth. That's what I'm talking about. Sustainability.

Susan Hymel: Actually 25 schools that are part and parcel of the Master Garderner's program. And then in addition to that, Scotlandville Magnet has their own Ag program going on and it's pretty incredible as the climate changes, then what we are giving to schools for them to grow is pretty phenomenal. If you were to go to. Belfair Elementary, which is a Montessori school, this three year olds are taught by the five year olds how to put their boots on and what they need to do if they're going in the garden. And it's just incredible what the kids are learning about from tomatoes to beans and what they're growing themselves and at a meeting that was held at Pennington, but sponsored by the group called Farm to School that they pointed out, teachers tell you this, if they grow it, they will eat it. And I think that's part of what the Interfaith Federation is doing by giving away growing plants. And on the day of the Health Bay Southern University Ag and Nutrition program will actually be planting things with the children or the adults in containers for them to take home.

Pat LeDuff: That's awesome. I did not know. And to hear that fifth graders or actually teaching the third graders, they learned better from their peers. I think that's awesome. I knew about Istrouma and Scotlandville, but not just 25 schools, but every school. Yeah. But this is a start and so this is how we move to where we want our education to go in this area. Thank you.

Pepper Roussel: Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

Rev. Anderson: , I had a question, and it may sound dumb, and I may be the only person who thinks this. The doctor mentioned about getting vitamin D, and I'm just confused, I thought the best source of vitamin D was sunshine. So maybe I've got my facts confused.

Dr. Vincent Shaw: So yes, you do need sunshine for vitamin D. We've all been led to believe, oh, get outside you get enough Vitamin D. The problem is, if you don't have the precursors available to make for the sun to turn it into vitamin D, then as you just getting, you're getting exposed to the sun.

Pepper Roussel: What are those precursors? What sort of food do you need to eat in order?

Dr. Vincent Shaw: So it's those foods that are rich in calcium. In addition to that some of the precursor foods are found in like some of your whole grains and some of your leaner proteins. It breaks those down into sort of those precursors, which is like a provitamin D and then sunlight cleaves it off and makes it active Vitamin D three. We tell some of our patients to supplement it with over the counter if majority of us, we are stuck inside and don't get a chance to be outside to get natural sunlight. So then you have to. Synthetic sort of vitamin D in the form of a multivitamin. But a closer balanced diet that involves more fruits, grain fruits and grains will give you more of those precursors if you like a majority of us who are lactose intolerant you can get a fair amount of a calcium from certain types of beans.

Rev. Anderson: Okay. And I know I'm still sound dumb, but, so if we were exercising more in the daytime, in the sunlight, in all those other things and combining that with good nutrition, would that be the optimum or would we still not have the right food, so this is not really as useful as it could.

Dr. Vincent Shaw: So again, that you more ideal would be if you were outside and you had the right diet, then you would not need to nutritionally supplement it. But, and in today's world, a lot of stuff is done inside, in front of a computer. When you look at our kids, they're inside for multiple hours sitting down either at a computer or looking at a chalkboard. They don't have the opportunity to get outside and exercise as well. Cause we talk about exercise as medicine. That's a whole separate topic. The diets that we think are hopefully nutritious going through the schools for those kids, are not as nutritious as we once thought. But yes, ideal world, if you were outside ate right foods you would not need to take vitamin D.

Marcela: Oh, I'm sorry. Yeah, no, I just I had a silly question. I'm not sure if you guys discussed about it. I don't know if you, if I missed it. Is there any entity or is there anyone, any organization that. Teaches you how to properly garden, so whatever you garden, don't die. Because that's usually what happens in my garden. I get excited about tomatoes, then I plant them and they die, and then I get excited about zumas. I plant them and they die. So I could never get, not even a small tomato, and it's the most frustrating part of planting and especially if you have to make the whole by yourself and you are making it excited to your kid and then you've got your four year old watching the plant died. So is there anyone who provides this kind of stuff?

Susan Hymel: I'll be glad to. I am a Master Gardener and we have an incredible master gardening program across our state, but especially in Baton Rouge since we have two Ag schools. They certainly go through and teach you that whole thing is have you had your soil tested? And if you're not gonna plant directly into the ground, the reason why we're doing container gardening is what Louisiana, especially South Louisiana, learned after Katrina, where the USDA and the Department of Health said, do not plant anything in the ground for a year. And LSU AG in conjunction with USDA taught container gardening. That's why even though I grew up on 60 something acres, I learned container gardening post Katrina in doing disaster response for nonprofits, for churches, and for families.

Pat LeDuff: I need to take it down, but I would like to