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Report Finds Faith Organizations Building Community, Improving Health Through Healthy Foods
Date:5/6/2009

MINNEAPOLIS, May 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Parishioners at Guardian Angels Catholic Church in Minnesota do more than donate food to a local food shelf -- they actually grow it themselves. The project is one of many case studies highlighted in a new report by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) and funded by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota (Blue Cross) that demonstrate a growing nationwide movement within the faith community to put into practice the belief that healthy foods will help feed the body and soul.

The report, Faith and Food: Action Strategies for Healthy Eating, found that churches, synagogues and other faith organizations throughout the United States are building community -- and healthier lives -- by making healthy foods available to their members and others. Faith-based organizations are embracing healthy eating, local foods, and sustainable agriculture and see it as an effective way to improve their members' health and make a difference in their communities. Examples include hosting farmers markets, connecting members with local sources of halal or kosher foods, and growing produce at a church garden to donate to a neighboring food shelf.

"Faith communities are important supporters of healthy eating because of their strong presence in neighborhoods and their commitment to the well-being of community members," said JoAnne Berkenkamp, director of IATP's Local Foods program. "It is our hope that faith members across the country will be inspired by these stories and take action in their own places of worship."

IATP joined forces with Blue Cross' Prevention Minnesota initiative, which works to improve the health of Minnesotans by combating the root causes of cancer and heart disease, of which unhealthy eating is a leading factor. Physical inactivity and unhealthy eating combined contribute to obesity, cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Together, t
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SOURCE Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota
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