Judy Kissane knows the importance of good nutrition. With family members coping with Celiac disease, she cooked gluten-free and limited her family’s intake of processed foods. That was no easy task back in the late-1980s.
It was a time when people did not know much about Celiac, Judy said. “It was a labor-intensive diet. I spent a lot of time researching and trying to provide a variety of foods that tasted good.”
Judy’s strong interest in nutrition and healthy eating grew from her family’s experience with Celiac, a genetic autoimmune disorder triggered by gluten. The Glastonbury resident found an outlet for her interests by volunteering at Billings Forge Community Works (BFCW).
Her interest pairs well with BFCW’s efforts to educate the Frog Hollow community about good nutrition and to increase the availability of healthy produce in the neighborhood.
“I’ve given a lot of thought to the scarcity of healthy food and what that means for children, their health, their abilities to focus,” said Judy, who worked in the market research field. “There is so much misinformation and a lack of awareness about good nutrition across populations.”
Judy said she did not know anything about BFCW when she attended the organization’s Farm to Table Dinner fundraiser in 2010. “Then four years ago, I came to a cooking class that they hold in the evening, with a bunch of friends. I submitted one of the volunteer postcards saying I’d like to get involved.”
For about 3 1/2 years, she volunteered in various activities including the Farmers’ Market at Billings Forge and youth programs. She and friends stuffed envelopes and helped with painting program spaces. Judy and a friend also served as Table Hosts at our Farm to Table fundraiser.
Judy assisted the Farmers’ Market manager to set up tables, help process payments and sell food items from The Kitchen at Billings Forge. Judy was a staple at the Farmers Market table for years, enjoying the interaction with customers, getting to know some of the regulars while taking part in the effort to bring healthy foods to the community at accessible prices. Then there are the farmers and vendors.
“I certainly appreciate what they do,” she said. “Especially when it was slow in the winter time, that they still devoted so much of their time to load up their trucks and come in. I really value that and I like to support them. I certainly loved and still do shop here. I come in almost every week.”