The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center has announced that it will be hosting a Fall Food Expo on October 6, 2017. This free event is in partnership with Jamestown Community Farm with funding from an AARP Community Challenge Grant and will be held at the MLK Community Center, 20 Dr. Marcus Wheatland Blvd., Newport, from noon to 3 p.m. The Fall Food Expo will allow local organizations to showcase their food and nutrition services to members of the community while focusing on educating residents of fall produce preparation.

Through a survey distributed to members of the MLK Community Center’s current cooking class, it was discovered that many folks, particularly adults 65 and older, have limited knowledge of how to use fall foods such as pumpkin and squash. This event will include interactive booths that demonstrate how to prepare these vegetables for cooking in an effort to increase residents’ understanding and confidence when making meals.

“When an individual has more knowledge about cooking, their options for preparing meals increase,” said Kelsea Dixon, Community Programs Coordinator at the MLK Community Center and the administrator for the AARP grant funding this event. “We have so many local organizations growing fresh produce here in Newport County. This event is designed to help with food insecurity and attendees will walk away knowing how to prepare these local foods in their own kitchens.”

To further the impact of the Fall Food Expo, the MLK Community Center is working with Jamestown Community Farm and dietitian Kristin Niessink, MS, RD, LDN to develop the first two chapters of a Community Cookbook. The cookbook will highlight recipes that explain how to incorporate fall produce in nutritious and delicious recipes while also addressing cooking challenges identified by local residents. In a survey distributed to MLK Community Center cooking class members, it was noted that preparing meals for one person is very difficult, in addition to knowing which spices to use. Both of these barriers will be addressed in different ways in the cookbook. Five hundred free copies will be available at the MLK Community Center beginning on October 6, 2017 in conjunction with the Fall Food Expo.

Since 1922, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Center has continued to evolve in providing a safe and nurturing environment for the changing needs of Newport County residents who seek nutritional, educational, and social supports to improve the quality of their lives. The primary focus of the MLK Community Center is on hunger relief, nutrition awareness and counseling, education and community support. Our services are as diverse as the people we serve and we strive to provide the tools and the knowledge to support their dreams.

For more information on the MLK Community Center, visit

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp.  Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in...