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San Antonio Food Bank hosts nutrition summit

Summit aims to educate community on growing, eating nutritious foods

SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio Food Bank on Wednesday held its third annual "Food for Tomorrow & Beyond" nutrition summit.

About 200 educators, health care and nutrition practitioners and policy makers attended the summit to learn how to support and encourage local agriculture to increase access to healthy produce.

The goal is to help educate the community about the impact of growing and eating nutritious foods to create a healthier society.

"For a lot of families, they struggle (with) the basic ingredients that nourish themselves. Our community struggles with high rates of diabetes, obesity, heart disease. These are nutrition issues," Food Bank president and CEO Eric Cooper said.

For some families, making healthy choices can be a bit of a challenge, experts said.

"We know that 17 percent of San Antonians are food insecure, so there is the importance of stressing healthy foods and access to healthy foods," Caroline Blanco, of the American Diabetes Association, said.

One way to access healthy foods is to support the local agricultural industry, or people can grow their own, Cooper said.

People who visit the Food Bank's community garden and urban farm get to learn more about fruits and vegetables that they eat, where they come from and how they're grown.

The educational experience gives people a better appreciation of the produce that makes it to the dinner table.

"We need to have a healthy dose of fresh fruits and vegetables in our diet, and sometimes, individuals are not familiar or they've never experienced that," Cooper said. "So teaching healthy recipes, teaching people how to use those or foods in their diet is an important thing if we're going to make sure that we're happy and healthy." 

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