The season of thanks may just be beginning by some standards, but here at New Haven Farms we got started a little early. At our 4th Annual Harvest Celebration & Contra Dance on October 13th, we took the opportunity to give thanks to four people and organizations that have committed themselves to the health and vitality of the New Haven community by recognizing them with New Haven Farms’ first ever Community Hero Awards.
Each of our heroes, who we have been lucky enough to work and partner with over the years, brings a distinct and meaningful contribution to New Haven. Ruth Torres got involved with New Haven Farms as an early Farm-based Wellness Program participant, working through the program with her grandson, and later became our first Community Health Ambassador. She has continually committed herself to supporting participants, volunteers, and staff alike at New Haven Farms, and acts as a role model and leader within our organization.
Another of our Community Hero Award recipients, Marydale Debor, JD, leads in her innovations at the intersection of food and healthcare at the company she founded, Fresh Advantage, LLC. Working first at New Milford Hospital and then at the Connecticut Mental Health Center in New Haven, Marydale has shown how re-imagining food as not just a caloric necessity but as a source of wellness and joy can have tangible impact on patient wellbeing.
Our Community Hero Awards also were a chance to recognize two changemaking organizations in New Haven, Fair Haven Community Health Center and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation. FHCHC and New Haven Farms have been intricately linked since our inception, with their focus on comprehensive primary healthcare and on preventative health allowing them to continue to be a key partner in advancing the twin causes of good health and good food. HPHCF has also been a valuable long-term partner to New Haven Farms, a relationship that benefits from the Foundation’s focus on improving the quality and value of healthcare and on addressing health disparities.
New Haven Farms is eternally proud and thankful to work with partners with such depth of passion and expertise. New Haven abounds with people and organizations who deserve endless recognition for their heroic efforts towards the wellbeing of our city, and with these Community Hero Awards we aim to be part of that communal recognition.