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Kushi Institute Summer Conference attendees at dinner in the tent earlier this week.
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Participants at this week's conference.
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Macrobiotic chef and teacher Chris Jenkins at a vegetarian sushi class in 2010. Jenkins is teaching at this summer's conference.
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Vegetarian sushi.

Kushi Summer Conference Features Healthy Food Truck

By Judith LernerSpecial to iBerkshires
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Andrea Beaudoin and her macrobiotic food truck will be at the 2014 Kushi Institute Summer Conference's local Berkshire food and vendor fair Sunday from noon to 4.

BECKET, Mass. — Food trucks are everywhere — even here in the Berkshires.

Following Saturday's mini food truckfest at the Pittsfield Farmer's Market, a macrobiotic food truck is being featured at the 2014 Kushi Institute Summer Conference on Sunday, Aug. 10.

Hearty Eats from Shelburne Falls and created by Andrea Beaudoin, a recent Kushi graduate, will be parked at the first-ever Kushi free local Berkshire food and vendor fair Sunday from noon to 4.

The Kushi Institute calls itself "the leading macrobiotic educational center in the world" and that is probably true. The Kushi Foundation, of which the institute is a division, was founded by the late Michio Kushi and his wife, Avaline, who is still a teacher and spokesman.

Their programs on health recovery, cooking and macrobiotic leadership certification always attract a dozen or two students from all over the country and the world. During the two-week conference, the old, 600-acre estate at the end of Leland Road, up the hill behind the Becket General Store, is hosting 100 more people.

A lot is going on at Kushi right now.

In addition to their regular counseling and residential programs in the skills and principles of Kushi macrobiotic, for the first time in 30 years the summer conference is taking place at the institute itself, not in Vermont or Westchester, N.Y. At a suggestion from Michio Kushi, they are calling this year's conference Bringing it Home to the Berkshires.

For many people in the Berkshires, they are hidden away on the top of their hill and completely unknown.

Summer conference director Marisa Marinelli has been working on the conference all year. She wanted to involve the Berkshire community to be a part of it in some way.

"It's the first time Kushi Institute is doing something like this, cultivating local agriculture and organic food vendors.," Marinelli said.

Berkshire Mountain Bakery from Housatonic and Chunks of Energy from Charlemont will be there as well as well as Four Corners Farm from Worthington. The Kushi Store will have a booth, an editor from Berkshire Magazine will be there as will some Berkshire body product, jewelry and home decor vendors.

There will also be "a massage table," Marinelli said, with two massage practitioners. "One is doing reiki and one is doing pressure point massage."

They will have live music.

And, there will be the macrobiotic food truck!

Entrepreneur Beaudoin opened her food truck last summer and started a restaurant in Shelburne Falls just this spring. She is an energetic woman.

She began her macrobiotic journey following a cancer diagnosis. She said doctors found no traces of her cancer eight months later after she had been following a careful macrobiotic diet. Eventually, in 2013, she left her job and Boston to study full time at Kushi Institute. After she graduated from her level 3 program, Beaudoin said she wanted to succeed in doing what she loved at the same time as paying her bills.

"I had always wanted accessible healthy food while I was working in the city. So I ended up buying a food truck."

Beaudoin considers macrobiotic food hearty food that does not leave you hungry.

"It’s healing, nourishing food," she said.

She named her truck "Hearty Eats" because she finds it funny to have "a health food, fast-food drive-thru."

Berkshire residents can still attend the summer conference, which began last weekend, at a 50-percent discount.

"We are selling day passes," Marinelli said.

The pass costs $185 but, for locals, it's $92.50.

"This includes all classes, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Throughout the day, there are about 15 different classes going on each day," she said.

Presenters are experts., Marinelli said.

"They are not only doctors and health counselors, but they are chefs who know food better than anyone else. They know how the food combines in the body better than anyone else."

"They’ve all studied macrobiotics and their teachings are all stemming from macrobiotics but there really is no one way they teach.'

"We here at Kushi Institute educate in macrobiotic principles. The conf incorporates teachers who have studied and trained here and then gone off to create their own practices through their personal experiences. Their teaching is all macrobiotic philosophy but each person really gives their own personal experience and personal knowledge. They put their own flair, their own special touch on it. You are going to get a different experience from each teacher you encounter here at the conference," Marinelli explained.

Marinelli said this Sunday made good sense to host the Berkshire food fair. About two-thirds of guests who attended the first week of conference are going home and new attendees will arrive.

"There will be a turnover between week one and week two," she said.

"It was a nice turnout, a very successful turnout we had a handful of locals and a handful of international people, she noted.

Tomorrow is a day to try a bit of the conference for free and spend time at a happy and healing fair — with a healthy food truck.

2014 Kushi Institute Summer Conference description:

This is a unique two week educational program featuring lectures on health, wellness and organic cooking through Macrobiotic principles. Learn from Kushi Institute's unique faculty along with leading macrobiotic teachers, counselors and chefs from across the world. Enjoy some of the best vegan, macrobiotic meals in the country.

Tags: health & wellness,   health food,   locavore,   

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