New Fresh is Best Lunch and Learn seminar available to area employers

Empowering employees to lead a healthy lifestyle is the goal of a new lunchtime seminar being offered to local employers by the Community and Corporate Wellness Department of the Johnson County Park & Recreation District.

This new Lunch and Learn seminar is called Fresh is Best and is an opportunity to learn about fresh initiative offered in the Kansas City metro area, including program offerings, community gardening projects, and local produce departments which deliver fresh produce directly to work sites and local grocers.

This program is very unique in that is encourages people to shop, not only for fresh foods, but also for local foods,” said Wellness Coordinator Katie Baergen, who is one of two speakers available for the program. “So not only does it support health and wellness by keeping employees eating healthy, but it also supports local businesses and the local economy by purchasing goods from the area.

The other speaker is De Soto area bison farmer Jeff Adair, who is a member of Good Natured Family Farms, a local produce organization was responsible for initiating a series of three public forums called Weight of the Nation, which were conducted by JCPRD in January of this year. Those forums brought together members of the public and local experts to talk about local ways to help address the nation’s obesity epidemic. The current offering of the Fresh if Best lunch and learn seminars is a direct outcome of those forums.

“That’s how we came to this conclusion to provide this lunch and learn to companies who are interested in providing this almost alternative to people,” Baergen said. “There were several different ways companies can do this, from starting their own community garden, to starting a corporate-sponsored CSA, which is community-supported agriculture which comes into the facility and delivers fresh fruits and vegetables. There are also other companies throughout the area which also have these fruit and vegetable delivery services where companies can drop them off directly at a company and employees just order in advance, and that way, you have snacks on your desk already so you’re not going to the vending machine.”

As part of the lunch seminars, JCPRD provides contacts for setting up these options.

This find this programs in the JCPRD’s Activities catalog and online listings at, browse first under adult and then under enrichment and special interests. In the catalog and when using the website’s advanced search, look for the keywords “lunch and learn.”

Fresh is Best seminars are available from May 1 through Aug. 31. The cost for one one-hour group seminar is $150 for Johnson County residents or $165 for nonresidents. While it is anticipated most of these programs will take place over the lunch hour, organizers can accommodate other scheduling requests as well. JCPRD imposes no limit on the number of people who can attend a session. For more information or to plan your seminar, call Katie Baergen at (913) 826-2957.

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