On Wednesday, April 25, more than 300 guests gathered at the Oakland Museum of California for a special screening of the new HBO films documentary, The Weight of the Nation. As a part of the premiere event, the Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association (PCFMA) set up a farm stand, made possible by HBO, for event participants to see, sample and take home some of California’s agricultural bounty.
“The Weight of the Nation is a very important project to us at the Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association because it demonstrates that farmers’ markets and the healthy products found there can be part of the solution to the nation’s obesity problem,” said John Silveira, PCFMA’s Director. “My team and I were proud to be invited by HBO to be a part of this event. It was clear that the documentary had an impact upon all those who saw it at the premiere event. After seeing it they were excited about the fresh fruits and vegetables we had available and we talked to many people about how locally-grown produce can be a part of their healthy diet. ”
In addition to the farm stand, PCFMA worked with HBO and Kaiser Permanente to create healthy gift bags for the event’s attendees. Each bag contained a recipe and the fresh ingredients needed to create an asparagus, lemon and spring garlic salad. The recipe was developed by Mario Hernandez, PCFMA’s market chef, for the event. “I love simple salads like this,” said Hernandez. “They can be prepared in just a few minutes with just a few ingredients and no special equipment. And you can adjust the recipe as the seasons change to add new flavors. This is the type of recipe that we demonstrate at farmers’ markets through our Cookin’ the Market program.”
The farm stand was made possible through the support of HBO and Kaiser Permanente so there was no charge to event attendees to add additional items to their gift bags. Many guests offered donations in exchange for the fresh fruits and vegetables. Those funds will be donated to Fresh Approach, PCFMA’s sister organization to use in its nutrition education and food access programs. “The problems of obesity are widespread in our nation but they have disproportionate impact on low-income communities,” said Allen Moy, Executive Director of Fresh Approach. “We’re incredibly grateful for the generosity of the guests at this event, and the support of HBO and Kaiser Permanente which made the event possible. The funds donated at the Weight of the Nation premiere will be used here in Oakland to fund nutrition education and fresh fruit and vegetables purchases by low-income residents.”
The Weight of the Nation is a documentary series on the topic of obesity. It will debut on HBO on May 14 and 15. It was developed by HBO (Home Box Office) in partnership with Kaiser Permanente, the Institute of Medicine, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation.
The Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association is the state’s largest operator of Certified Farmers’ Markets, with over sixty Certified Farmers’ Markets weekly in the Bay Area during the peak summer months. Certified Farmers’ Markets are locations that offer only California-grown products sold directly to consumers by the farmers that grew, nurtured and harvested the crops. All PCFMA markets accept WIC FMNP (Woman Infant and Children Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program coupons) and CalFresh (using EBT/Golden State advantage food stamp cards). The Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association can be contacted at (800) 949-FARM or visit www.pcfma.com.
Fresh Approach is a 501c(3) nonprofit working to encourage healthier children, families, and communities through community education, innovative programming, and novel partnerships that promote a stronger local food system and better informed choices about food and nutrition. More information on Fresh Approach programming can be found at www.freshapproach.org.