Food for Thought: ‘Growing from the Heart’ Promotes Healthy Eating and Participation Practices | News, sports, jobs

Chris Jenning/The Daily Mining Gazette Dr. Michelle Seguin, MD, prepares for a presentation on fermenting vegetables for growth from the heart.

Hancock – Dr. Michelle Seguin of the Portage Health Foundation has come together with other like-minded health food lovers to share this love with the community by forming a group called Growing From the Heart.

“In 2020, when the pandemic started, we developed a program that was kind of modeled on the national program called Plant a Row for the Hungry, which encourages people to literally plant an extra row in their garden to donate to food pantries,” Seguin said.

Growing From the Heart started as a mission to donate locally grown produce to those in need during the pandemic.

“Instead of focusing only on food pantries during the pandemic, because we knew a lot of people wanted food and needed food during that time, we wanted to promote what was really happening, which is gifting and sharing with our neighbors,” Seguin explained. “We were also reaching out to food stores to see if they would accept fresh produce, and then facilitate that, encouraging people like, ‘Hey, I have 60 pounds of zucchini. what should I do with it?’ Instead of doing ding-dong shoves and taking things down, which is great, you can drop by Little Brothers on the third Monday of the month, at Calumet at the Free Store on Wednesdays. We’ve facilitated these kinds of relationships.”

With the pandemic seemingly approaching, “growth from the heart” has taken on a social aspect.

Chris Jaehnig / Daily Mining Gazette Fresh products are blended with seasoned brine for flavor and preservation, extending shelf life.

“Then we started to discover that we love spending time together, so we definitely do all these different things like rigging walkways and brewing workshops. We just had a home barn last week. We just enjoy sharing our knowledge,” Seguin said.

Growing From the Heart is a popular group that encourages participation from anyone who wants to improve their kitchen game.

“This is really cool because there is very little money associated with the group overall, and there are no limits. Everyone can submit an idea, whatever they want to do. Someone said one day they wanted to do a homemade jam workshop last month, and then they sort of organized it. We showed up and spent time together,” Seguin explained.

“Yeah, it’s usually like a big group of people, and last month in our brewing shop we had a family from my Iron River, and another family was kind of walking around and joining us. It’s really about encouraging that kind of relationship,” Rachel Koskinen, another member, added.

Growing From the Heart teaches that new ways of self-producing food don’t have to be intimidating.

“This kind of skill-sharing makes things that seem a little scary like jamming or hunting for mushrooms much easier. There are more than 20 species of edible mushrooms in Houghton County, and we can share the good ones with each other.” Koskinen added.

While beneficial to the community and an opportunity to socialize with fellow foodies, Growing From the Heart is an informative resource.

“We are really looking forward to trying to improve access to nutritious local foods. In addition, we need to try to expand education opportunities, so once people can buy really great local food, how can people cook it and save it so they can eat it and share it with their families and things of Like that, so hopefully we can offer more outreach opportunities that we can gather.” Seguin explained.

What kind of projects and events are available to Growing From the Heart at a given time is at the mercy of season and weather patterns.

“We develop our plans as things appear, or as the elements allow. We haven’t been able to look for mushrooms lately because they are too dry,” Seguin said, “But my gosh, the berries will be ready soon, so we’ll get together and make a batch of jam next month.”

Last Wednesday in Porvoo Park in Hancock, Growing From the Heart held a brewing workshop.

“One of our members, Evan, came up with the idea last month. This time we have an almost completely different crew than those who attended last month at Brewing Shop 101. This time we are dealing with more specific recipes that already exist in our community, so we have taken it to a higher level,” Seguin said.

Dr. Seguin stated that brewing was a wonderful workshop because “It’s a delicious way to keep food safe, and a very healthy way.”

“This (vegetable fermentation) has been going on for thousands of years, and so it’s also a way to draw on the stories of your family and your heritage,” Koskinen said.

Growing From the Heart is often joined by local dietitian, Meghan Jaszczak, who has a cooking video series called Biblio Bistro, which is available online at the Portage Lake District Library website, where she partners with PLDL coordinator Michael Stanitis, who is also a chef. The cooking series is available at The offering contains a lot of locally sourced ingredients.

More information about the group can be found at “” > Western Up Food Systems. Growing From the Heart also has a Facebook page, but the majority of the information is shared through an email list that can be joined from the website.

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