Few things connect people around the world more significantly than food, and our relationship to it.  Recognizing the potential that food has to unite a community, HealthFinders hosted its first annual Community Picnic at the Main Street Project (MSP) Farm this summer. MSP is a non-profit organization of several local farms dedicated to providing accessible, sustainable and ethical nutrition to the community.  

In the past, HFC has hosted the Diabetes Picnic, which encouraged our patients with diabetes to share their favorite healthy recipes with each other. The success of past years inspired this new event, open to everyone in the HFC family. It was a wonderful opportunity for members of the HealthFinders community to get to know each other, connect with the incredible staff and volunteers, and learn about the Main Street Project Farm. 

The picnic began with a potluck-style meal in a re-purposed barn where patients, their families, and the staff and volunteers of HealthFinders brought food to be shared. The food varied from kale and pecan salads to cream cheese pickles to dolmadaki, a Turkish dish made by our volunteer physician, Dr. Hansen. 

Once the kids finished eating, they began playing in the area outside of the barn. Children from the local Somali and Spanish-speaking community started by playing games. But soon enough, a soccer ball came out. It was truly heartwarming to see how the international language of soccer could overcome language barriers so the children could interact and show off their moves. 

After everyone else finished eating, the farm staff — Rocky, Wilbur and Regi — led a tour that included outlining the project’s history and mission. Similar to HFC, Main Street Project recognized a systemic injustice in the way low-income residents are treated and decided to make a change. MSP currently works to empower Latino immigrants working in agriculture while also encouraging farmers to shift to a sustainable means of production. The tour led to a stimulated discussion among community members as they climbed to the highest point of the farm, overlooking the developing hazelnut trees and in-progress chicken coops. 

If you would like to learn more about the great work of the Main Street Project, check out their website 

We want to give a big thank you to the Main Street Project for providing the venue, and for their support and presence at the picnic! As a collaborative nonprofit, we rely on partners who are dedicated to Rice County communities. Over the course of the evening, the attendees took time to share food, build community, meet new people, and learn more about local, organic farming initiatives. 

 Having a positive connection with food is key in maintaining a healthy lifestyle, especially for diabetics. The work that Main Street Farms has undertaken is already having an impact on the community in a very positive way. We are so thankful to MSP for collaborating on this event, and we look forward to a healthy, sustainable future!