The Brigantine Green Team's latest initiative is the establishment of a health and wellness committee that incorporates programming into the weekly farmers market to help raise awareness about the link between personal wellness and environmental sustainability.
The farmers market is held 8:30 a.m.-noon every Saturday at Haneman Park, 15th Street South and Revere Boulevard. John Addrizzo, a Green Team member since its May 2013 inception, inspired the new health and wellness programming and is the committee chairman.
The programming includes a three-part series of wellness expos at the farmers market taking place June 17, July 15 and Aug. 12. Fitness and nutrition professionals from AtlantiCare and Brigantine Physical Therapy and Fitness will offer free chair massages, tips on healthy eating and physical activity, and general wellness counseling and seminars.
“They'll talk about workout routines, diet plans, stances on nutrients and their benefits, and opportunities to commute via bicycle or by walking that people don't often think about, but can add greatly to a person's overall well being,” Addrizzo said.
“My personal passion is personal health and wellness,” continued Addrizzo, whose 20-plus career in the pharmaceutical industry included consumer marketing and patient-support programs that he said “not only helps patients use pharmaceutical products as prescribed, but also to live healthier lives.”
One of the committee's main objectives is to raise awareness of the correlation between a person's physical health and general environmental wellness, he said.
“A lot of times they very much go hand in hand,” he said. “Study after study has shown that societies that eat the most plant-based diets live the longest and are the most healthy, and also have the lowest negative impact on the environment.”
He said the environmental benefits of plant-based diets include less consumption of water and fuel needed to feed and raise animals for market; reduction of chemical pesticides and fertilizers used to produce animal feed that ends up in the water and food supplies of humans; and a reduction of deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions associated with raising livestock.
A second component to the committee is a biweekly series Addrizzo is calling Active Awareness that will take place the second and fourth Wednesday of every month through October. Volunteers will meet 6 p.m. at the Shark Park recreational area, 26th Street and Ocean Avenue, for light physical activity and to help beautify the island. The next one is set for June 28.
“It's really just an opportunity for people to get active, be more social, and to be aware of the beautiful environment we have here in Brigantine,” he said. “It isn't only about having a good active walk, but we pick up litter as we pass it. You can bring your own bag or we'll supply them."
The Green Team is involved in the ACUA's Adopt-a-Road program and has adopted Brigantine Avenue from the Lighthouse Circle through 14th Street South, Addrizzo said.
“That will be one of the locations we walk and clean, but it will be on a rotating basis. Sometimes we'll clean the beach, sometimes Ocean Avenue, sometimes Brigantine Avenue. And the more volunteers we get each week at Shark Park, the more areas we can clean.”