The Local Center for Health and Community

The Local Center for Health and Community  dedicates itself to the study of the interwoven connections between health and community that make up the fabric of our lives.  The Local Center’s initiative is to educate and cultivate a deeper understanding of leading a balanced lifestyle in cohesion with concepts of wellbeing, local foodways and traditional nutrition.  It serves as an educational forum for local leaders interested in inspiring change in their communities through awareness of medicinal history, emerging trends in sustainability, and establishing connections in and outside of the kitchen.  

The Local Center was the brainchild of Dr. Uri Mayer-Chissick, who saw a need in the public to have a greater understanding of the interlacing connections between nutrition and behavioral well-being as a benefit to the community as a whole.  He drew upon his background as a researcher whose expertise is on medical and nutritional history; Dr. Mayer-Chissick completed his master’s thesis on local food fermentation and his doctoral thesis on ancient medicine and nutrition as a means of obtaining balance in modern society.  He is a health consultant for a wide range of different communities, an expert forager, and author of  two books: Wild Edible Plants and The Story of Local Food.  Dr. Mayer-Chissick leads lectures at Haifa University, and gives seminars and discussions in institutes across Israel.  His leading ideas in nutrition, and research on ancient medicinal concepts gives him worldwide recognition.

Core Values:

LCHC is founded on the core values of Education, Nutrition, Cooperation and Connectivity.  These principles motivate the work that the Center is involved with and guide its pursuit of being the starting point for a healthier community.  

Education:   

Paths of Study:

Health Leadership Program

The Health Leadership Program is designed for an in depth, comprehensive study of community health.  The program meets in a weekly series of classes across three years, culminating with a certificate of completance.  The class structure varies and accommodates a wide array of learning styles with guest lecturers, hands on experience, and a supportive atmosphere for all different types of backgrounds.  The Center trains social leaders, entrepreneurs and managers, who are driven to improve the health and nutrition of small communities.  The course is also an appealing option for individuals who want to change their own personal lifestyle, or that of their family’s.

The aims of the course are:

  • To create a solid foundation of knowledge in subjects connected to health, sustainability and nutrition.
  • To establish and build upon research capabilities. 
  • To develop personal tools and a network for intervention and growth in communities.

Individualized Courses

A personalized course of focused study, from daily workshops, to 10 structured courses, covering topics such as:

  • Nutritional history
  • Medicinal history
  • Workshops on healthy cooking styles based on the principles of food preservation and local traditions.

Day-long Seminars, Lectures and Conferences on health, community health, nutrition, food preservation and local traditional medicine.

Educational Feasts for the Jewish Holidays (public) and Pre-booked Educational Feasts (for private groups):

Enhance a gathering or a festive meal with food inspired from ancient cookbooks and consisting of freshly gathered wild edible plants.  Let Uri and his staff cook a nutritious meal for your group and enjoy a meal that will not only scintillate your taste buds, but your mind as well.  Each meal has a specific theme and is served after an inspiring short talk.

Nutrition:

The Kitchen as a Study Center

At the Center we have an active kitchen dedicated to the practice and study of cooking techniques, fermentation, food preservation and preparation of nutritional meals. The kitchen serves our students and those who take part in the workshops, as well as other courses. The kitchen is well equipped and stocked with a variety of colorful and local, organic grains and vegetables for use in gastronomical exploration and can host study groups.

Fermentation Laboratory

Research and development of lactic food fermentation

The Center is actively involved in the study, experimentation and utilization of the fermentation process in the foods, as well as the kitchen itself.   Uri works in cooperation with esteemed faculty at the Microbiological Laboratory in Zefat to be at the cutting edge of research on new bacteria and the healthy effects of fermenting food.  

Lactic fermentation is a process where microorganisms of lactic acid bacteria transform the sugar in the food into lactic acid. This process has been used since antiquity to make the preservation of food possible.  In the laboratory, we experiment with traditional food preservation techniques, and learn about fermentation and bacteria and apply it to cooking process.

Development of new foods based on traditional preservation processes

Student research and help in the development of lactic fermentation of food.] cut?

In Loving Memory of Chava (Aga) Kahan Educational Library

The Chava (Aga) Kahan Educational Library at the Center houses more than 1,000 books on the subjects of nutrition, community health, medicine, the history of medicine, plus many cookbooks.  It also is home to a categorical database of academic and scientific articles (some by Dr. Uri Mayer-Chissick).  Titles are available in both Hebrew and English, on occasion, and the library is a cozy and open place to read and drink tea for our students of the center, nutrition researchers and the visiting public.

Connectivity:

Center for Community Agriculture and Educational Garden

At the Center, we explore the essential connections between culture and agriculture, with the aim of achieving a lasting equilibrium between us and our surroundings. The students grow vegetables and raise plants in the educational garden and greenhouse. The garden also serves as a research and development center for a categorized seed bank as well as seed preservation.  

The garden is a vibrant part of the organic disassembly process and the compost cycle from organic materials

Aside from LCHC’s own garden, we are also active in creating public gardens as a meaningful meeting place for members in the community.

Mekomi, a local delicatessen

The center is proud to feature shelves of locally made, artisanal food products, prepared by hand in traditional methods. Our products are made from the freshest ingredients around, extremely flavorful and tasty; they are a great option for gifts, or your own enjoyment.   Availability depends on the season. The products are for sale to students and the visiting public.

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