EXAMINER.COM |Get Back to the Basics | Terry Walters Interview, Part 2 of 4

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Interview Part 2 of 4 | examiner.com | January 14, 2015 | A. Michelle Blakeley

This week on Part 2 of my interview with Eat Clean Live Well author, Terry Walters, Terry reminds us that not everyone has access to healthy, locally grown food. Food deserts are a real issue in the United States. Faced with having to travel by bus for an hour just to get fresh food, most low-income families find it difficult to justify the means. Urban and community farms are growing, but we need more. Each of us can help bring this issue to the forefront until fresh, whole food is within reach for everyone. Think about volunteering at a local community farm, start a community farm, start a Farmer’s Market… sure these are lofty ideas for some of us, but at the very least each of us can further the conversation simply by talking about it and asking “what can we do to make sure people in the low-income neighborhoods have access to the same fresh food we do?” Sometimes it’s as simple as connecting dots. One person with another person. One idea with another idea.

Terry has spent quite a bit of time at her local urban farm and has worked with local schools to help educate youth and their families on quality and healthy food options; including how to plant their own gardens. Learn more about Terry on her website or connect with her on Instagram at @terrywalterscooks. Here’s Part 2 of 4 of our conversation… (also see Part 1.)

What are your thoughts on the “farm to table” movement?

I think it’s a trend generated by our increasingly adulterated food system. I do think it is here to stay. We’ve had a tremendous amount of growth here in Connecticut in small farms. I think community farms are the answer. It’s empowering and achieves so many goals in addition to feeding and nourishing communities with economic support, cleaning the air, being stewards of the land and crop diversity. In Connecticut, the largest segment in the number of farmers has been women. That is really cool to me. That whole sense of empowerment is phenomenal.

Sadly, I think it’s only for certain segments. From what I see, it’s accessible to the wealthy and the not-so wealthy. It’s the folks in the middle that are getting a little bit lost. Fortunately, we have a lot of role models in New England who have been very successful in making it accessible to everybody. There are so many people working towards that and I’d like to think I’m one of them. We are moving in the right direction, but we have a ways to go.

Are there issues with food deserts when you are?

Urban Oaks is in the middle of a food desert. I can’t image the struggle of having to source fresh produce miles away from my home. I’ve worked with Urban Oaks for over 14 years and served on their board. Food deserts are unimaginable. Urban Oaks reaches out to the schools, showing them how to grow their own food and bringing them out to the farm and offering volunteer and educational opportunities and having translators come in to speak Spanish and Polish so that they can really understand. It’s really an amazing place and a gift to be part of that community.

What won’t you eat?

I’m not a huge fan of eggplant. Although I’ve had people make it where it’s just delicious, nothing makes me say, “I think I’ll order that again.” I think that happened after I had my children. Before children, I really loved eggplant. After children, not so much.

Coffee or tea?

No thanks. Water with lemon.

Savory or sweet?

Salty. Savory and salty, unless it’s chocolate. Then it’s bitter.

What’s your guilty food pleasure?

Pizza. I love thin crust. I’m pretty flexible after that. Fresh greens. Kale. Mushrooms. Thinly sliced potatoes.

Sometimes dining out can be challenging for vegetarians and clean eaters, what’s your favorite go-to restaurant?

There are some clean food options, locally. There are some vegan and non-vegan restaurants that value the local farm scene with really phenomenal food. One of our main food chains, Plan B makes their own veggie burgers sourced from locally grown greens. When they make that effort; that’s what I want to see because I know the food is made with care. Remember the days when you’d go to a restaurant and the “vegetarian” option was just a stack of vegetables? A plate of steamed zucchini, mushrooms and eggplant with some sauce around it? We’ve come a long way.

This Week’s Featured Recipe | Acorn Squash Cups with Ginger Apple Stuffing (It’s good enough for breakfast!)

(Full disclosure: I received a copy of Terry’s book for review. However, all of my reviews, opinions and/or other commentary expressed here are my own and based on my experience with a product. I am not affiliated with any brands mentioned in my column nor do I endorse them and they do not endorse me.)

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