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Community Harvest Dinner Aims to Educate Englewood on Healthy Eating

By Wendell Hutson | September 24, 2013 7:32am
 The Eat2Live neighborhood garden in Englewood produces, among other foods, eggplant, greens, rice and tomatoes.
Urban Garden
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ENGLEWOOD — Organizers of an upcoming dinner for community residents said the goal of the event was to educate them about eating healthy.

"We know that behavior change takes time and is not done overnight, but we hope by serving people food grown from gardens that it would encourage them to start eating more healthy," said Lawrence A. Seals Jr., program coordinator for the Angelic Organics Learning Center, which is sponsoring the event. "Hopefully, it does not rain because we will be outside under a tent."

The free Community Harvest Dinner runs from 4-8 p.m. Saturday at 70th Street and Princeton Avenue in a vacant lot adjacent to the shuttered Elihu Yale Elementary School. Eat2Live, a garden next to Yale, is where all the food served at the dinner was grown.

Residents will taste potatoes, greens and rice, said Seals, 39, who once lived in Englewood but now lives in South Shore. Eggplant, carrots and corn are also grown at the urban garden.

Yvette Moyo, executive director of Real Men Charities Inc., said she supports Eat2Live garden, which opened in 2011, and the dinner event.

A film screening of "Soul Food Junkies" will be shown at 5:30 p.m. with a discussion to follow, Seals said.

"Our whole objective here is to bring greater attention to the Englewood neighborhood and its importance in the food system in Chicago. This event builds on our recent efforts to engage, share and teach families in Englewood and the surrounding areas [about] the importance of health and food," Seals said.

The group also hopes "to encourage a large audience of Englewood residents and Chicagoans at-large to see the the growing interest in local food and the connection to healthy living as a powerful vehicle through which people and neighborhoods can be transformed."

Earlier this month, Whole Foods Market announced plans to open an Englewood store in 2016.

While Seals said the high-end store known for its gluten-free and organic foods could help change the way residents shop, he added that Whole Foods may need to reduce its prices if it wants to attract Englewood shoppers.

"We are what we eat. And if Whole Foods wants to contribute to the lack of stores in Englewood without healthy foods then it must lower its prices," Seals said. "I want people to know that Englewood is a diverse and close-knit community. And what is needed most in Englewood is affordable, healthy foods."