Like the seasonal plants she plants all year round, Margaret Duriez’s passion for community horticulture – and advocacy for nutrition – continues to grow.
Just in time for National Nutrition Month in March, the latest project, launched last week by their Fresh Rx Kids program – a subsidiary of the nonprofit Fresh Rx initiative that she and her husband Franck partnered with the Community Foundation for Palm Beach and Martin Counties founded – expanded the program.
Located in the Boys & Girls Clubs at the Smith & Moore Family Teen Center of Palm Beach County in Belle Glade, the new offering includes additional classes in gardening, nutrition and food preparation, as well as on-site educational gardens where young participants are supervised by Both Fresh Rx employees and those at Boys & Girls Clubs in Palm Beach County get hands-on experience with the joys and myriad health benefits of growing your own food.
The organizers are counting on the idea that once children are exposed to hands-on gardening and become familiar with new eating habits, they will share them with friends, family, and others in the community. What is so important about this latest addition to the initiative is that it serves children who live in “food desserts” – areas more than a mile from grocers selling fresh produce.
“We’re excited to bring Fresh Rx Kids programs to a new location in Palm Beach County,” said Duriez, a native of West Palm Beach and a Palm Beach resident. “As a mother of five, I know firsthand that education and adopting healthy foods at a young age are key to helping children develop healthy eating habits into adulthood. The Fresh Rx Kids expansion will ensure more children in Palm Beach County have access to fresh, nutritious products and feel empowered to choose healthier foods for themselves and their families. “
Jaene Miranda, President and CEO of Palm Beach County’s Boys and Girls’ Clubs, stated, “The vision of our new Smith & Moore Family Teen Center was to create a space for teenagers to explore career opportunities and learn from professionals first Industry knowledge can guide you. ”
Miranda also believes the Fresh Rx Kids program features local chefs showing kids how to prepare the food they grow, and local producers showing them how to sell products at local farmers’ markets. This can help members of the Boys & Girls Club pursue a potential career path.
“We’re introducing them to agriculture, which is one of the top industries in Florida, while touching retail, nutrition and culinary careers,” she said.
The young people who took part in the creation of the gardens on site are definitely looking forward to what lies ahead.
“I’m really excited about gardening corn, carrots, and other healthy products,” said SyNiyah West. “I’m also looking forward to learning more about the gardening process and watching the plants grow.”
Draaon Smith is also excited to have the opportunity to develop his green thumb: “I’m looking forward to actually starting farming. I think the program will help me care for other people. Once I get the hang of it.” gardening will do it. ” be something I could teach my neighbors. “
Lifelong passion for family gardening
Duriez has always been passionate about sustainable community horticulture. As a child, she spent summers on the family’s small farm in Pennsylvania.
When she and her husband – whose family also ran agriculture in his native France – started growing their own vegetables after the birth of their eldest children (11-year-old twin sons), they were only supposed to feed the Duriezes.
“When we started with just 10 rows, this was a way to grow food for our own family,” she explained. “Then when we got up to 35 rows, it became a way to grow food for our family, friends and loved ones. But it should just be a fun, sustainable pastime. ”
As the salads, vegetables, herbs, herbs and edible flowers of Duriezes ‘Lox Farms’ spread, we received calls from people asking us to sell them what we had grown.
Lo and behold, until 2016 the couple ran a “commercial” company.
For Duriez, however, with the commercial aspect of the farm, the goal has always been to simply generate enough income to sell her crops to local restaurants and farmers’ markets to support the gardening initiatives of the community she is most passionate about.
Over the years, the Fresh Rx program has donated food and gardening resources across Palm Beach County – including helping cancer patients maximize their diets with the Fresh Rx patient program and distributing food to families in need in the earliest stages of the world COVID-19 curfew.
To support the expansion of Fresh Rx Kids and the organization’s other community-based programs, Fresh Rx launched a range of foodie and food delivery experiences from farm to table a few months ago. This gives local philanthropists multiple ways to enjoy uniquely prepared, nutritious meals, all prepared by some of Palm Beach County’s most accomplished chefs.
The options are as follows:
1. Farm to the front door is a food delivery service that allows individuals to order a four-course meal prepared by a Fresh Rx chef, along with a seasonal cocktail elixir curated by mixologist Jules Aron. Every meal is delivered to your doorstep right before the private dinner party or gathering. The cost is $ 175 per person and requires a minimum of four people.
2. Fresh Rx Supper Club is a monthly farm-to-table meal delivery service that allows customers to order from a rotating menu developed by Fresh Rx chief partners. Each meal includes a four-course meal for four with a bottle of Virginia Phillips wine and a Fresh Rx specialty. Membership cost is $ 3,500 and includes one meal delivery per month. The program started in January and runs through May.
3. The chef-to-table experience is a private gourmet experience prepared at home by a Fresh Rx chef. The package includes a four-course menu with regional and seasonal ingredients as well as cocktails put together by mixologist Jules Aron. Virginia Phillips wine pairings are also included. The cost is $ 500 per person and requires a minimum of eight people.
Participating chefs in the program include Jimmy Everett of Driftwood; Michael Hackman from Aioli; Albert Molla and Pierangelo Badioli from Acqua; and Kent Thurston of Cucina Palm Beach. The Fresh Rx gourmet experience from the farm to the table and the delivery of meals can be booked until May. Part of each package is tax deductible.
To learn more about all of the Fresh Rx programs, visit freshrx.org.