According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables helps reduce the risk for diseases such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity and some cancers. Unfortunately, fruits and vegetables can be among the most expensive items in the supermarket, making them less accessible to people living on limited incomes and one of the greatest barriers to healthy eating. The Peterborough Food Pantry is tackling this challenge head on through a series of “Eat Fresh” initiatives and is partnering with the Monadnock-Region community to bring that barrier down.

More than 30 businesses in Peterborough participated in the Peterborough Food Pantry’s “Green Bag Program” this year. Conceived by pantry volunteer, Linda Claff, the Green Bag Program gives local businesses the opportunity to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to their neighbors during the winter months.

Depending on the number of employees, businesses receive from one to eight green bags for each of their two assigned weeks to fill with healthy fresh produce which they bring to the pantry for distribution. “People have been so generous,” Claff said. “This year we received more than 150 bags of fresh produce through the Green Bag Program. Our customers love it!”

An award from 100+ Women Who Care Monadnock has also enabled the pantry to fund CSA shares at Foggy Hill Farm in Jaffrey.

The Peterborough Food Pantry is at 25 Elm St. in the Peterborough Community Center; it is open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to noon. Information: 924-3008.