Two doctors join our board

We are proud to welcome two new members onto our Board of Directors. Amber Sarkar is a Primary Care Physician at the Family Health Center of Worcester, who we partner with for our Farm to Health Initiative. Evan Soderstrom is the Medical Director of the Tri-County Medical Hospitalist Program in Milford. Even after just a few minutes with either of them, you can tell how passionate they are about health and making a healthy lifestyle accessible to all.

Both of them took the time to answer a few questions about joining the board, so they can tell you more about why there are here in their own words.

amber.jpgAmber Sarkar

Why did you want to join the CHP board?

Practicing primary care at the Family Health Center of Worcester, I work with food insecure individuals every day.  Much of the care that I provide involves dietary changes and advice to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and less processed foods. It is easy for me to tell a patient with diabetes, single working mother or new immigrant to eat more vegetables, but infinitely harder for them to obtain affordable produce. I was inspired by mission of CHP and eager to see more produce ending up on the plates of my patients and similar communities in the area.

How do you think your background and experience can further CHP’s mission?

I have a front row seat to the struggles of families trying to scrape by on un-livable working wages, food stamps and public assistance, and bear witness to the short and long term health consequences of the dependency upon highly processed foods that these conditions create. 

What do you hope to accomplish as a board member?

I hope to be able to provide insight into the populations that CHP is serving, serve as a liaison to some of the medical and public health communities in Worcester and help to inform best practices around produce utilization and distribution. 

What is your favorite vegetable and how do you like to eat it? 

Just one?  I crave spice, and in the vegetable kingdom satiate my craving with daikon.  It is delicious sliced raw with some black salt, shredded and cooked down with some ginger and turmeric or stewed in an Asian soup. 

DSC_5648Evan Soderstrom

Why did you want to join the CHP board?

Since I first set foot on Brigham Hill Community Farm, Community Harvest Project captured my heart.  It is a special place made up of a dedicated staff and volunteers who are passionate about CHP’s mission.  Exposing people to the agricultural environment who would not otherwise have that experience is life-changing for many people.  I am a strong believer in the effects of outdoor activities on our psychological well-being and, in turn, how that has a positive influence on our physical health.  Combining that with education, hunger relief, and the promotion of a diet with adequate healthy fruits and vegetables fills such a need in today’s society.  My family and I will always be supporters of Community Harvest Project and I am honored to be able to support the organization through the volunteer Board of Directors.

How do you think your background and experience can further CHP’s mission?

My hope is to grow the connection between Community Harvest Project and health professionals to educate and promote a healthy lifestyle beginning early on in our youth.  We need to expose our youth to habits that will promote a lifetime of health so that they can make changes in their own lives and promote those changes in their families and friends.  As a health care professional, I hope to steer my efforts towards intervening early in the lives of our community members in preventing many of the disease epidemics that our society faces today. 

What is your favorite vegetable and how do you like to eat it?

The benefits of a plant-based diet are well known.  There is not an upper limit to how many vegetables you can eat before it negatively effects your health.  I have many favorite vegetables.  If I had to pick one it would be a big pile of raw baby leaf spinach with an olive oil and balsamic dressing.  Second to that favorite is lightly steamed broccoli.  My favorite fruits are raw fuji and gala apples and raw tomatoes.

Amber and Evan – we are so excited to have your unique perspective and expertise help to further our mission!

Read the rest of the July 2016 Sprout!

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