Nourish & Flourish Ossineke focused on helping community eat healthier

Grass-roots organization Nourish & Flourish Ossineke has a mission to teach youth and their parents how to prepare meals and eat healthier throughout their community.

In Ossineke, Mich., located just south of Alpena, Mich., a small grass-roots group working with the Ossineke United Methodist Church is focusing its efforts on helping educate local school children and their parents how to prepare and eat healthier meals, even with limited resources.

Ossineke has a number of families who receive aid and commodity foods to sustain their diets. The issue of how to take excess commodity foods from package to plate was identified by the “Nourish & Flourish Ossineke” group. The biggest challenge is the preparation of these ingredients and the virtual ease of doing so.

This is where this group has a strategy to do their part. Through a recent partnership with the local school district and facilities provided by the Ossineke Methodist Church, which houses a large commercial kitchen and is willing to utilize it for the betterment of their community, along with a retired Registered Dietician, this group has all the pieces to make this initiative a success, but they also understand this process will take time.

Recently, Michigan State University Extension was contacted to see what we could do to help. Part of my responsibilities as part of the Community Food Systems work team is to work throughout northeast Michigan to help communities be better aware of what a Community Food System is as well as assist in making connections to help citizens and communities help themselves to better support and utilize their local community food systems.

Though this initiative is in its early stages, this passionate group is steadfastly working toward accomplishing their mission to better the Ossineke community, and hope to help this process spread to other communities with similar needs in the future. Initially, the partnership has allowed for the group to offer a field trip for the students of Sanborn Elementary in Ossineke with a follow up healthy meal event and nutrition sharing for the parents of those students, as well as the community as a whole.

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