LEWISTON — St. Mary’s Nutrition Center is celebrating good nutrition this March. The goal of St. Mary’s Nutrition Center, located in downtown Lewiston, is to promote community health through its food pantry, cooking and nutrition education, youth development and urban gardening programs.

In addition to sharing healthy eating tips and recipes daily on its Facebook page throughout the month, the Nutrition Center is also holding the following activities.

Community Cooking Night will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 25, at the center, 208 Bates St. This is a community get-together and meal where participants practice healthy cooking techniques, try new foods and set healthy eating goals together. Recipes feature seasonal fruits and vegetables and whole grains and the class is participant driven.

Tip sheets, helpful handouts and recipes are all available for participants to take home at the end of the class. There is a suggested donation of $5 but no one is turned away for lack of funds. Call 513-3848 or email [email protected] to register.

Registration is now open for April’s Grow a Garden Workshop Series. This series is for anyone who wants to grow a garden to increase their sources of healthy food. Participants can attend one session or all. There is a suggested donation of $10 per class to support Nutrition Center programs, or attend all three in the series for $25.

To register or for more information, call 513-3844 or email Bridgette at [email protected]

The first workshop, “Starting a garden,” will be held from 6 to 7 p.m.  Tuesday, April 8. Topics will be: Things to consider when starting a garden, consultation on what type of garden is good for you, choosing a location, how to test soil and how to build up and improve soil.

Workshop No. 2, “Starting your own seedlings,” will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 15. Discussion will be on what is needed to start seedlings for a garden. Choose a veggie to plant and take home at the end of the workshop.

The third workshop, “Making a Garden Plan,” will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 22. It will include resources and advice on how to make a garden plan with a focus on making the most of small spaces and preventing pests.

Electricity Maine is featuring its partnership with St. Mary’s Nutrition Center throughout the month of March. When people sign up or renew with Electricity Maine in March, they can choose to have a portion of their electricity bill support the Nutrition Center’s programming. Find more information at www.electricityme.com/NutritionCenter, or call 866-573-2674.

The last Lewiston Winter Farmers’ Market of the season will be held from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 20, at the St. Mary’s Nutrition Center. There will be fresh, healthy produce, local meats and cheeses, and a healthy dinner at the Farmers’ Market Café. More information can be found at www.facebook.com/lewistonfarmersmarket.

The Food Pantry is engaging in a Healthy Food Drive as part of a coordinated community effort this spring to focus more on healthy foods and especially, healthy snacks and lunch items for kids. Good choices include peanut butter, canned tuna and chicken, whole grain crackers and pasta, raisins and other dried fruits, and non-sugary cereals. Because the food pantry is open five days a week and serves approximately 375 people per week, fresh produce can also be accepted and distributed. Donations can be dropped off at the St. Mary’s Food Pantry, 208 Bates St., Monday through Friday from 9 to 11 a.m.

Finally, the Nutrition Center’s community cooking educators will be delivering nutrition education in local elementary school classrooms throughout this month and through the end of the school year. The “Pick a Better Snack and Act” curriculum promotes fruits and vegetables as an attractive alternative to less healthy snacks. Through hands-on nutrition and cooking activities, kids are learning that making better choices can be fun, tasty and healthy.

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