Toni Tipton-Martin Attends Let's Move Anniversary Celebration

Local food and nutrition activist is guest at the White House

Toni Tipton-Martin (right) in Washington, D.C. with Tambra Raye Stevenson (left) and Dr. Marjorie Freedman
Toni Tipton-Martin (right) in Washington, D.C. with Tambra Raye Stevenson (left) and Dr. Marjorie Freedman

Despite a March blizzard that made travel challenging, Austin food and nutrition journalist Toni Tipton-Martin attended a celebration earlier this month for the third anniversary of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move Faith and Communities initiative to eliminate childhood obesity in America.

The half-day White House event brought together community activists and faith-based leaders from around the country to meet with senior White House staffers, representatives of the Centers for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the U. S Department of Health and Human Services, and the U. S. Department of Agriculture. Mrs. Obama made inspirational remarks and the program included recognition of the Communities on the Move Video Challenge winners, an appearance by Austin Olympic gold medalist Garrett Weber-Gale, and discussion of the Let's Move initiative for 2013.

Tipton-Martin was invited to the event as the founder and director of the SANDE Youth Project, an Austin non-profit she founded to promote the connection between cultural heritage, food, and health. The SANDE Project works in partnership with the University of Texas-Austin Division of Diversity and Community Engagement as well as the Boston-based Oldways Preservation Trust to create educational opportunities for at-risk students to learn about real food and nutrition awareness through cultural heritage experiences.

As part of the SANDE Project, Tipton-Martin created a pop-up art exhibit featuring historic images of African-American cooks. Installations of the exhibit around the country engage students in her work as well as helping to raise funds to support her programs. In 2012, an installation at the prestigious James Beard Foundation House in New York City provided Austin culinary students the opportunity to assist in the preparation of the food for a reception there

The organization has provided after-school Garden to Table classes for children, A Taste of African Heritage cooking classes for families, and encouraged the participation in such community events as the annual Peace Through Pie socials and next week's Children's Picnic & Real Food Fair on the grounds of the French Legation on Sunday, April 7th. Keep your eye on this blog for more information on the picnic.

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