On Friday, March 29, 2019, the Pajaro Valley Community Health Trust hosted the 16th Annual Diabetes Forum, which explored the theme: Plant-Based Eating Patterns for Diabetes and featured a community panel discussion on efforts to increase healthy eating behaviors in the Pajaro Valley

Attended by local healthcare providers, non-profit organizations, and members of the community, the event was generously sponsored by Kaiser Permanente, Palo Alto Medical Foundation/Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center Santa Cruz, Watsonville Community Hospital, Salud Para La Gente and Dignity Health/Dominican Hospital and moderated by Cesario Ruiz of My Mom’s Mole, a business focused on sustaining traditional Mexican cuisine using responsibly sourced ingredients.

The panel of speakers from local nonprofits talked about the process of empowering individuals to make healthier nutrition choices, cultivating participants’ appreciation and openness to fresh fruits and vegetables, and the ways in which their programming works to create a sense of belonging in the community.

The keynote speaker, Meghan Jardine, discussed the benefits of plant-based nutrition for diabetes and offered guidance on how healthcare providers in the Pajaro Valley can implement plant-based eating in their clinical practice. Ms. Jardine ended her presentation with a plant-based cooking demonstration and distributed samples of her delicious chili and coleslaw.