Lyndsi Lambert, Grant Coordinator for Fresh Beginnings, a Challenge Grant supported project.
Lyndsi Lambert, Grant Coordinator for Fresh Beginnings, a Challenge Grant supported project.

Kudos to Fresh Beginnings Grant Coordinator Lyndsi Lambert, who showed off her healthy eating and nutritional prowess as part of a TEDx Manhattan webcast and speaking engagement, “Changing the Way We Eat.” Slow Food Baton Rouge hosted a viewing party of the forum, which was based in New York City and brought together farmers, chefs and food entrepreneurs from around the country to promote food sustainability and farm fresh food production. Lyndsi helped organize a local viewing  of the event, hosting interested parties into the Manship Theater in Baton Rouge. Following the Feb. 16 webcast, Lyndsi spoke at the local gathering, sharing some of the amazing food initiatives taking place in the Baton Rouge community, including the $2.2 million Fresh Beginnings program largely supported through the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Foundation grant program (Challenge for a Healthier Louisiana).

Growing LA’s Marianne Cufone, another Challenge Grant partner who also serves as the executive director for the Recirculating Farms Coalition, even made an appearance at the New York event, held in Times Square. Marianne offered a brief update on the Urban Farming and Food Center under development in the New Orleans downtown region.

The Baton Rouge gathering was a huge success, drawing more than 100 attendants, and prompting lots of positive reaction from the audience, Lyndsi said.

“A number of folks came up to me after to share that they were ‘grateful’ and ‘relieved’ to have been in the company of so many like-minded folks around local food, food education, and food justice in Baton Rouge,” Lyndsi said.

A key element of Lyndsi’s talk was “food security,” which she calls an under-discussed topic.

“Food security is such a critical piece of the food system equation. And you almost never hear it come up, until a disaster happens. So having greater control over where our food comes from, how it’s grown, transported, processed, stored, and distributed is of colossal importance,” Lyndsi said.

During the talk, Lyndsi highlighted Baton Rouge’s steps to increase the availability of healthy foods to local consumers.

Notes Lyndsi, “So many exciting things are happening around food in Baton Rouge. LSU AgCenter has a MarketMaker resource that connects local producers with buyers; the AgCenter is also developing a food incubator so budding food entrepreneurs; Southern AgCenter actually had a Women in Ag workshop today and has incredible organic certification programs; food trucks and cafes that source local produce are on the rise; we just had our first Food Access Summit last November where nearly 200 people came out; Slow Food Baton Rouge has some incredible urban ag programs and workshops; Together Baton Rouge has been increasing food access in Scotlandville with their Mobile Healthy Food Pantry; the Baton Rouge Dietetic Assocation just launched a Healthy Kids Menu Project. It is an exciting time for food in Baton Rouge!”

Click here to view the talks!

Lyndsi Lambert taking charge at the TEDx Manhattan talk in Baton Rouge.