Learning about Health Education

We were very lucky to have Annie Fortnow interning with Healthy Waltham this semester! She has been a wonderful addition to our team and a great presence at numerous events and workshops. She shared some thoughts on her time with us. Thanks, Annie!

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By Annie Fortnow, Brandeis ’17annie

Interning at Healthy Waltham this semester has broadened my knowledge of food access and education and introduced me to the structure of a small nonprofit organization. So far, my internship has had me working with underserved populations in Waltham to teach them about the importance of healthy eating. During one of the first weeks of the internship, I visited the Greater Waltham Arc, an organization that caters to adults with disabilities, to help lead a healthy cooking demo. We taught how to make healthy pizzas and had our students cut the vegetables for the pizza toppings, roll out the dough, and apply the toppings. Working at this event helped me remember why I became passionate about food justice in the first place. Food and cooking help bring people together. Since everybody eats, food and cooking serve as topics that everyone, no matter their background, can bond over. Encouraging healthy cooking with fresh ingredients both promotes community and helps create healthier individuals in our neighborhood.

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Annie and Reva at the Outreach Market

In addition to cooking demos, I have gotten the opportunity to provide healthy food samples at the Outreach Market put on by Waltham Fields Community Farm. The Outreach Market serves as an opportunity for low-income individuals in Waltham to receive subsidized fresh vegetables. Healthy Waltham sets up a table at the market every week with samples featuring some of the vegetables offered. Providing these samples allows the customers shopping at the market to see what they can do with the vegetables they pick out. Educating others at the Outreach Market helps me bring context to the work that I love to do. Access to local, fresh food is an issue that is extremely important to me. Through my work with the rooftop farm project at Brandeis as the Donation Coordinator, I have gotten to see the impact of providing fresh produce to those in need. Without education about how to use this produce, however, individuals who have never had access to this kind of food may not know what to do with it. My experience with Healthy Waltham taught me the importance of giving context to fresh food distribution.

As I continue my internship with Healthy Waltham, I feel excited and honored to work with more individuals within the Waltham community to educate them about healthy eating as well as other health topics. As a senior, I hope to use this experience to determine whether or not health education is a viable career path for me and how I can best use my prior knowledge about food justice and environmental health to help Healthy Waltham.

 

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