Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Garden is famous for its plant and flower displays, so of course it is hosting two major conferences on curbing childhood obesity.
“We’re connecting people with the important role plants play in people’s lives,” says Phipps’ Executive Director Richard Piacentini about his institution’s mission. “And the biggest intersection we have with plants is with the food we eat.” From processed foods to factory farms, modern food production is having a large impact on making us larger — starting with our children.
Let’s Move Pittsburgh is set for Oct. 12. As part of the White House’s Let’s Move! Program, it will focus on regional groups’ actions to bring healthier food and more physical activity to local children, attempting to create a plan for the future. It will feature panels with representatives from local schools, health care, out-of-school and other community programs, early childhood education, and the food industry.
Feeding the Spirit on Oct. 13 brings together national groups to talk about what museums and public gardens can do to improve children’s health. The keynote speaker is White House Assistant Chef and Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives Sam Kass.
Both conferences will be the start of something larger and will have a regional impact for years to come, Piacentini says. The Move!ment hopes to focus on parents and caregivers next.
“There’s so much confusion about what’s healthy and what’s not healthy,” he says. “Everywhere you go you get a different message.” He hopes conference participants will create a consistent message about healthy eating and activity, and point to who is doing something innovative and who is overcoming barriers.
Concludes Piacentini: “We see this as becoming a really key place for people to find resources, to find out what other people are doing, and to find best practices … for addressing healthy lifestyles for children.”
Writer: Marty Levine
Source: Richard Piacentini, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Garden