The first annual Healthy Memphis Food Festival
is coming to the Broad Avenue Arts District April 11 and 12. The brain child of Sharon Thompson, the event will transform the Water Tower Pavilion into a temporary market full of healthy food vendors and wellness businesses, plus local art and music offerings. Trainers and medical experts will be on hand to demonstrate fitness activities and offer free blood pressure and cholesterol tests.
The goal of the festival is to foster healthy eating habits, lifestyle, and community, which Thompson says is especially critical in the African American community.
“In college, I heard the statistics all the time—African Americans have higher incidences of high blood pressure, high cholesterol for lack of [healthy] diet and exercise. Southerners suffer from the same dynamic,” said Thompson.
Thompson, who currently lives in Colorado, originates from Memphis and has noticed the difference between her two homes. Her passion for wellness began here in Memphis, where she was educated during her time working at the Squash Blossom Market. The experience introduced her to a healthier diet and lifestyle.
It wasn’t until she lost two close relatives to heart attacks, who were near her own age, that her purpose was clear. Thompson became determined to help bring healthy eating to the Mid-South, and the Healthy Memphis Food Festival evolved from that commitment.
“Eating is so important. It affects every aspect of our lives,” said Thompson.