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National Nutrition Month - Beyond the Table
Ellen Celestial

By: Ellen Celestial on March 21st, 2024

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National Nutrition Month - Beyond the Table

Health & Aging  |  Thrive Wellness

March is National Nutrition Month® and the 2024 Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) theme is Beyond the Table®.


One purpose is to look at food and nutrition by incorporating the farm-to-table aspects of nutrition. This starts from where your food originates and follows the journey to your table. It may start with awareness of farming practices, to food processing and production including the environmental impact and sustainability of production, the distribution process, whether this is a store or farmer’s market, and finally to your table.

Do you remember the shortages we faced in 2020 which have continued to affect current grocery store prices and availability? Looking into root causes of these continued challenges can also be answered by back-tracking through the supply chain.

Food Safety

Beyond the Table® also incorporates food safety and food storage practices in your homes, and the other locations where we eat, such as at restaurants, games and events and school systems including looking at healthy options and making wise choices when our variety may be more limited. Visiting the website is an excellent resource to help you organize your kitchen and ensure you are following safe food storage practices among other helpful tips.

Food Sustainability

Local Produce

Beyond the Table® also focuses on how sustainable our current culture’s food practices are, which means striving to reduce food waste and ensuring farmers can continue to support themselves while making use of their natural resources with low impact on the environment for futures to come. Supporting your local farmers is a great way to create an awareness for yourself of the work that goes into food production. Every year in Franklin County, Pennsylvania the Franklin County Farm Bureau holds a Farm Festival at a different host farm in the fall where people can visit to learn various aspects of farming. A quick internet search may help you find similar events in your area.

Crop Sharing Programs

Growing your own vegetables, fruits or herbs can be fun for the family but if you do not live in a location conducive for this, may local farms have crop sharing programs. These programs often offer various pick-up locations which make it convenient to get fresh local produce to your table. If you’re worried that you wouldn’t be able to utilize all of the food items before they spoil, there are some tips on how to use or freeze foods to reduce waste as well as save on your grocery bills on the National Nutrition Month® 2024 webpage. There are also budgeting tips, ideas for eating on the run, snacking tips as well as other informative materials. There are some enjoyable activities on the above link as well including a word search, fill-in-the-blank game, coloring page and fact or fiction quiz. Enjoy!

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About Ellen Celestial

Ellen Celestial has been working as a Dietitian since 2005, with employment in PSL communities since 2015. She is presently the Regional Support Registered Dietitian for PSL. She has her Master’s Degree in Gerontology from Hood College and Bachelor’s Degree in Human Nutrition from Virginia Tech with the Dietetic Internship Certificate from Idaho State University. Ellen lives in Chambersburg, PA with her husband, two sons and several pets. She volunteers as the President of her children’s school’s School Board and enjoys planning monthly family gatherings with her adult step-daughters and their families.