The grant is designed to make healthy food options and the great outdoors more accessible by enhancing public spaces across the state.
In Unicoi, the funds will be used for the construction of a farmers market pavilion on the grounds of the town’s Mountain Harvest Kitchen, nutrition programming and a Footsteps with Foodies walking campaign that pairs educational seminars with outdoor activity.
The six-week Footsteps with Foodies program began earlier this month and is being held in conjunction with Unicoi’s Tuesday morning farmers markets.
Mountain Harvest Kitchen Director Lee Manning said the program “is a great way to pick up some fresh produce and be active with your family and neighbors.”
The free program begins at 9 a.m. with a professional cooking demonstration, followed by a healthy snack and a walk with food, nutrition and health-care experts available to answer questions.
The walking campaign includes treks along Unicoi’s Pinnacle Fire Tower Trail and will conclude with Final Summit Challenge to the top of the 4.8-mile trail to be held from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Saturday, August 18.
The kitchen’s grant-funded educational programs will continue through the year.
Farmers market hours are Tuesday 8 a.m.-1 p.m.
Construction of the farmers market pavilion is expected to begin this fall.
“The Mountain Harvest Kitchen was designed to grow food businesses and encourage healthy eating,” Unicoi Mayor Johnny Lynch said. “We’re thrilled to have the Department of Health’s support making that happen.”
Lynch said the locally grown food movement is national trend that is gaining support in the local region. A regular trip to the farmers market is one of the best ways to connect with where your food comes from, he said.
“It’s a win-win for farmers, local businesses and the community,” Lynch said.
New vendors are welcome to participate in the market and encouraged to contact the town for more information at 423-735-0426.
For more information about Footsteps with Foodies program and other Mountain Harvest Kitchen efforts to support healthy communities visit the Mountain Harvest Kitchen page on Facebook or call the kitchen at 423-330-9650.
The kitchen is located at 105 Unicoi Village Place, just off Exit 32 of Interstate 26.
Email Sue Guinn Legg at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @sueleggjcpress. Like her on Facebook at facebook.com/sueleggjcpress.