WISCASSET — The Morris Farm, a working farm and education center that promotes sustainable agriculture and environmental stewardship, and Chewonki, an environmental education organization that promotes sustainable living, will host their fourth annual forum on food security in Lincoln County, according to a news release from the farm.

The Local Food, Local Hunger forum is open to the public and will take place from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, March 3, at the Chewonki Center for Environmental Education, 485 Chewonki Neck Road, in Wiscasset. Registration is at 8:30 a.m.

According to Feeding American, 4,960 people in Lincoln County, or 13 percent of the county’s population are food-insecure, meaning that they do not have the resources to put together three balanced meals a day, according to the release. More than 47 percent of students in Lincoln County schools are eligible for free or reduced-fee school lunches. In Maine, the number of people with food security issues in increasing, not decreasing. The Food Security Forum draws people who care about and work on solving the complex issues surrounding these problems.

Through presentations, a panel discussion and breakout sessions, the forum will provide information and interactive discussion on what is happening in the field of food security in Lincoln County and surrounding areas.

This year, the theme of the forum is Food is Medicine: Food Security and Health, exploring the most basic connections between food and health, according to the release.

Hippocrates said, in 400 B.C., “Let medicine be they food and let food by thy medicine,” and advised people to prevent and treat diseases first and foremost by eating a nutrient-dense diet. Without access to affordable, healthy foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, families struggling to put food on the table often choose cheaper, less nutritious foods. This can lead to diet-related diseases such as type 2 diabetes and obesity and compromise the ability of the body to utilize medications. To learn and thrive, children need not only adequate supplies of food, but adequately nutritious food, according to the release.

There is a need for continual development of the kinds of programs in the local schools that currently work to provide information and experiences with good food. The focus on providing good nutrition to people of all ages continues to grow in Lincoln County and the forum will help participants to learn what is going on and connect with others who care about alleviating food insecurity.

Presentations and discussion sessions at the forum will include nutrition education in schools, senior nutrition, developing links between the medical community and food security initiatives, food security in local schools, youth-led programs, and more. The panel in the afternoon will be made up of medical professionals discussing the effects food insecurity on a person’s health.

The cost to register for the forum is $25, which covers lunch and snacks. This event is supported by Hannaford, MeHAF and Morning Glory Natural Foods.

For more information or to register for the forum, visit www.morrisfarm.org or call 882-4080.

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