In the United States, Health care providers face a challenge— how do you help the sickest and neediest patients get healthier? Esperança’s work in the Phoenix Latino community models a promising approach to address this issue.
Esperança’s work in Phoenix provides Promotores (Community Health Workers) opportunities to exchange information, share best practices and build skills. Salud con Sabor Latino (Health with a Latin Flavor) works to connect a network of Promotores and expand leadership opportunities for community members.
This increases our capacity to make a difference in local communities!
The use of Promotores has long been known as an effective way to bring information to community members who lack knowledge of healthy practices through the help of other, trusted community leaders. By providing education for parents and children, Esperança is creating awareness about fitness and healthy eating habits for the whole family. Salud con Sabor Latino utilizes innovative and effective teaching methods with hands on learning, physical activity and community gardening.
Esperança is empowering Promotores to inform and unite their neighbors. This provides an opportunity for community leaders to have their voices heard and to participate in shaping the topics taught in Salud con Sabor Latino sessions. It includes the issues that are meaningful to them.
By being from the community, speaking their language, and having shared life experiences, Promotores are able to break down barriers that health care providers simply cannot do alone.
Juanita is a Promotora with Padres Promotores of Southwest Behavioral Health and Unlimited Potential. She graduated from Salud con Sabor Latino and is co-teaching the Salud con Sabor Latino 2016 summer session. Unlimited Potential purchased a plot of land at Spaces of Opportunity, a community garden established by TigerMountain Foundation in South Phoenix.
Community Gardening gives families access to more fruits and vegetables to build a balanced diet, it adds more color to their neighborhoods and their plates, it saves them money at the grocery store, it increases their physical activity AND it gives families something to do together.
At Spaces of Opportunity, various agencies and community groups are growing fresh produce for a variety of purposes, including family and neighborhood consumption, day care centers, senior centers, and sales to local food banks, community health centers, local restaurants and markets.
Promotores invited all of the participants of the Salud con Sabor Latino and Salud con Sabor Latino para los Niños (Health with a Latin Flavor for Children) summer sessions to bring their families to the community work day at Spaces of Opportunity on June 11th. We arrived at 9 AM, it was already HOT and everyone was ready to get their hands dirty!
Groups from all over Phoenix came together for the community work day. Together we pulled weeds, planted seeds and harvested several vegetables that represent the phytonutrient spectrum, including squash, carrots, beets and bell peppers that the families took home with them.
There is a lot of talk about making sure all of the foods we eat represent the colors in a rainbow. What does this mean? Why should I do that? According to Julie Kurtz, Registered Dietitian, the majority of Americans eat a “brown, yellow, and white diet”. Instead of a lackluster, colorless plate, try to sample all of the colors of the palette including red, orange, yellow, green, and purple. This is important as you need to ensure that you are receiving all of the phytochemicals your body needs. Phytochemicals are all of the good nutrients that naturally occur in plants.
“We are indeed much more than what we eat, but what we eat can nonetheless help us to be much more than what we are…” Adelle Davis
As we think about the colors of the rainbow, we should be inspired by better food selections! Looking at the vegetables that were harvested this month made me think about one of my favorite recipes…Smoky Farro and Chickpea Soup! The Earthy chard, nutty farro, and creamy chickpeas are a trifecta of deliciousness.
Smoky Farro and Chickpea Soup
The hearty one pot meal couldn’t be easier and makes for a simple cleanup.
You can look for pouches of precooked farro either in the grain aisle or in the frozen section of your supermarket.
Hands-on: 15 min. Total: 25 min.
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups finely chopped onion
½ cup finely chopped celery
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
1tsp chopped fresh rosemary
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 bay leaf
3 cups vegetable broth
3 cups water
1-1/2 tsp Spanish smoked paprika
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp kosher salt
1 (15 ounce) can unsalted chickpeas, rinsed, drained
1 (14.5 ounce) can unsalted, fire roasted diced tomatoes
4 cups chard
3 cups cooked farro
½ cup chopped green onions
1.5 ounces parmesan cheese
1. Heat a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion and next five ingredients (through bay leaf). Cook seven minutes or until onion is tender, stirring frequently. Stir in broth and next six ingredients (through tomatoes); bring to boil. Stir in Chard and farro; cook two minutes or until chard wilts. Stir in green onions; top with cheese.