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Area Libraries Partner Together in 'Community Read' Project

Libraries in Chelsea, Dexter, Grass Lake, Stockbridge and Manchester will distribute copies of the book 'In Defense of Food' for residents to read for free.

The Chelsea District Library and the Chelsea-Area Wellness Foundation (CWF) have partnered together to once again offer the library's annual "Chelsea Reads Together" program, a month-long community project taking place in September.

Each year library staff, local teachers, business owners and community members come together to read and discuss one book to promote literacy.

This year the the project is expanding into Stockbridge, Dexter, Manchester and Grass Lake as part of the "5 Healthy Towns Community Read." The library plans to highlight one of the Five Healthy Towns Project’s core elements: eat better, move more, connect with others in healthy ways, and avoid unhealthy substances, over the course of the next five years.

In 2011, the Chelsea community read The Blue Zones by Dan Buettner, a book featuring lessons for living longer from people around the world. In the spirit of collaboration, a committee from each of the five towns will be promoting this year’s book, In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan.

In Defense of Food is a simple invitation to rediscover the joys of eating healthy. By following a few pieces of advice, you will enrich your life and your palate, and enlarge your sense of what it means to be healthy and happy.

More than 1,500 copies of In Defense of Food will be circulated among the five communities with the tag line "Read it, Sign it, Share it" to encourage everyone to read the book, sign the bookplate and pass it on to a neighbor or leave it in a public location.

Five-hundred copies will be distributed in the Chelsea area. These pass-it-on books can be found at the Chelsea District Library as well as local restaurants, doctor’s offices, beauty salons, banks and fitness centers.

Paul McCann, director of the Dexter District Library, is enthusiastic about being part of the joint effort.

“The offer presents a great opportunity for the Dexter District Library to work collaboratively with other libraries and agencies in the area as well as to begin to offer a community read program," he said.

Paul Crandall, head librarian at the Stockbridge Library agrees, stating: “The Chelsea Area Wellness Foundation and the Stockbridge Area Wellness Coalition are solidly behind the effort. I think this could be a great avenue to help develop cooperation among the five towns and a regional approach to wellness. There’s a lot of potential here for this and future efforts.” 

The 5H Community Read kick-off is noon to 2 p.m. Sept. 15 at the Chelsea Library, 221 South Main St. This kick-off event is sponsored by all five communities and will feature bands, games, tastings, cooking demonstrations, kid’s activities and more.

In Chelsea, the library is teaming up with several local organizations to provide themed programs including cooking demonstrations with Chelsea Community Kitchen, tours of the Community Farm of Ann Arbor and Capella Farm, movie screenings at the local Family Circle Farm, and a real food workshop at Back to the Roots.

CWF board member Allison Pollard commended the library for reaching out to its community neighbors.

“We usually think of a library as a quiet place, but the Chelsea District Library’s message is loud and clear. Through their community read program, Chelsea residents are invited to read about wellness, think about wellness and talk about wellness. This shows what can happen when a community like Chelsea cultivates a culture of wellness," she said.  

For more information, visit www.5hcommunityread.wordpress.com to find programs near you.

Barbara Read August 28, 2012 at 05:38 PM
My book club read Pollan's book Food Rules a couple of years ago. I can't say that I went with ALL of the rules, but I did change a few habits for the better. Interesting reading. No surprise, the book club member who chose it is a professional nutritionist!
Daniel Lai August 28, 2012 at 05:42 PM
That's interesting. I'll have to be sure to pick up a copy of the book for my brother to read. He's been real heavy into nutrition lately.
Marilyn Wilkie August 28, 2012 at 11:26 PM
We do follow just about all of Michael Pollan's Food Rules. We eat clean, virtually nothing with a label, no wheat products, just single ingredient whole foods. We use only honey for sweetening, and try to choose organic fruits and vegetables when possible. We enjoy all kinds of grass fed meat, free range poultry and eggs, butter, greek yogurt, olive and coconut oil. We immediately noticed how much more energy we had and far fewer aches and pains. I have lost 31 pounds since May 22nd. We found it easy to change our eating for life. Beyonddiet.com
Linda Ballard August 29, 2012 at 02:24 PM
@Daniel- just for your brother? Hope it is on your reading list too! :)
Daniel Lai August 29, 2012 at 02:28 PM
Hi Linda, Ha! I plan to read it, too. :)

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