STAMFORD, Conn. -- It’s nearing the end of a fruitful season for Stamford’s Fairgate Farm where a major highlight of the summer growing season was the weekly Farm to Table Family Workshops on Wednesday evenings.
The six-session series offered an opportunity for adults and kids to spend time learning some basics of farming before breaking off into two groups – the children to do a cooking activity and craft, the adults to enjoy a cooking demonstration, recipe exchange and samples of healthy, just-picked produce.
Alexandra Garces, a doctor of naturopathic medicine and a clinical nutritionist for Optimus Healthcare in Stamford, was one of the three Farm to Table workshop leaders. The Daily Voice recently spoke with her about how she interfaced with Fairgate Farm to help her patients improve their health.
Daily Voice: How do you integrate Fairgate Farm into your services?
Alexandra Garces: Because of the ever-decreasing SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and the increasing price of foods, I personally struggle with how I can – in good conscience – promote healthy eating in a realistic way. Most patients have financial difficulties and can’t afford the nutritional foods I recommend. Their health suffers because they eat what their budget allows. So I partner with different organizations, including Fairgate Farm, to help them get the healthy foods they need.
Daily Voice: What’s your role at Fairgate Farm?
Alexandra Garces: This summer I taught Farm to Table cooking classes with Gavin Pritchard from Stamford Hospital and Cora Ragaini from Shoprite. I also give out Fairgate Farm vouchers to patients who o have expressed interest in doing moderate exercise, like volunteering at the farm. They get vitamin D by being outdoors, there’s physical activity and they get to bring home organically grown fruits and vegetables, free of charge.
Daily Voice: Are you seeing benefits?
Alexandra Garces: Many of my patients come to the workshops and enjoy it very much. These benefits help keep them positive and motivated and as a result they are more compliant in many ways.
For more information on the Farm, go to www.vitastamford.com/fairgate-farm/ .