New ‘Branford Gets Fresh’ initiative to promote healthful cooking, eating

A Branford coalition has created the Branford Gets Fresh initiative to promote healthful cooking and eating in the community. The group hopes to provide opportunities for the public to better understand the benefits of cooking with fresh ingredients and eating foods that are inherently more healthful.

BRANFORD — A Branford-based coalition has created a new “Branford Gets Fresh” initiative to promote healthful cooking and eating in the community.

The goal is to provide opportunities for the public to better understand the benefits of cooking with fresh ingredients and eating foods that are inherently more healthful, said organizer Frank Carrano in a release.

Carrano, former chairman of the Board of Education and a columnist for the New Haven Register, said in an email that he was the one who organized the coalition.

“The idea for this actually came from a movement around the country to create what is called a ‘blue zone’ in your community ... promoting the concepts of a healthier lifestyle,” Carrano said Monday.

“The end result is that people are healthier, they are happier, they live longer,” he said.

Among the ideas the initiative will promote are “exercise, (healthful) eating, preventative health care,” Carrano said. “When you put all these pieces together, you can create a community that people are happy to live in.”

The coalition includes the Branford Community Dining Room, Branford Food Pantry, Chartwells, Soundview Family YMCA, East Shore District Health Department, Branford High School Culinary Arts Department, local food cook and teacher Betty Ann Donegan, Shoreline Elder Care Alliance, Branford Community Gardens and Stop & Shop.

A formal announcement of the new initiative will take place at 8:30 a.m. Thursday in the Branford Super Stop & Shop store at 22 Leetes Island Road.

Among the initiative’s collaborators, “We have a pretty good cross-section of the community ... for whom food is a pretty important area of their lives,” Carrano said.

Chartwells, which runs the Branford Public Schools food program, “are committed to providing healthier foods,” he said.

Stop & Shop “is going to work with us and do some promotional work in the store,” Carrano said.

The Community Garden will be looking to “provide more opportunities for people to grow their own food and eat healthy,” he said.

A new “Branford Gets Fresh” Facebook page already has nearly 400 followers “who can access healthy food recipes every day,” Carrano said in the release. “As the group expands, there will be more opportunities for sharing ideas and food techniques.”

Mindy Baker, who runs the high school’s Culinary Arts Program, is co-administrator of the Facebook page with Carrano.

Among other things, “we hope to engage local restaurants in a program to offer healthier alternatives on their menus which contain fresh ingredients,” Carrano said. “Healthy eating can lead to a healthier community, by impacting the incidents of diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.

“A healthier community is a benefit for all of us,” he said.

Connecticut Media Group