Healthy Communities’ Unique “Healthy Food Hub”: Affordable, Sustainable, Provident
Lyon and Storey Counties, Nevada – In November 2014, Rebekah May, farmer and HCC community health advocate, and Wendy Madson, Healthy Communities’ manager for Community Roots, partnered with culinary students from Dayton High School to make about 150 jars of gorgeous jam. This project that brought together farmers, culinary students and farmers market managers to make the most of an abundance of local fruit is just one example of the activities that form Healthy Communities Coalition’s regional “Healthy Food Hub.” Wendy writes, “Using left over fresh fruit from our student -run Farmers Market and the help of Mr. Palmer’s awesome students, we were able to jam over 100 jars of delicousness.”
USDA NIFA Grant Kick-Started HCC’s Food Hub in 2010: In addition to a regional Health Services Hub and a newly developing arts hub, in 2010 Healthy Communities Coalition began working to connect local, state, federal, and tribal groups and community volunteers to create a regional “Healthy Food Hub”,a strategy to increase access to affordable, sustainably grown local food that will have a deep impact on our region and its food system.
Why? Because strengthening local and regional food systems creates additional economic opportunities for farmers and food entrepreneurs, expands access to healthy food for everyone, leads to better health and wellness, increases the number of “food-literate” citizens, and helps meet growing customer demand for local food.
What are the parts of the Healthy Food Hub? Our healthy food hub includes a food co-op, a garden center, volunteer-powered food pantries, school and community gardens and hoop houses of many sizes, farmers markets, weekend student food backpack programs, teen and adult training in gardening, canning, healthy cooking, composting, vermiculture, nutrition, and sustainable agriculture practices, etc.
Goals: A few of the Coalition strategies for this developing healthy food hub include: 1) Increasing linkages among local food access/security stakeholders and regional and state planning efforts that have the potential to impact regional food systems to more equitably reflect the needs of low income individuals and communities and 2) Working to assure that food security /access policy issues for low income individuals and communities are recognized as a critical component of existing and new regional strategies, blueprints and state planning initiatives; and 3)Encouraging open communication among key decision makers, stakeholders and the general public on these issues.
How is the Healthy Food Hub “Powered?” Healthy Communities healthy food hub is powered through hundreds of community volunteers, students, teachers, local farmers, BGC staff and members, USDA grant funding, staff from HCC’s Community Roots, food pantries, Community Health Advocates, NevadaWorks and Comstock Youth Works teen interns, Cooperative Extension, coordination with dozens of group partners like social services and health groups, plus donations from individuals and private businesses, Community Chest Inc and Food Bank of Northern Nevada funding, etc. For dozens of photos illustrating this collaboration, see https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.299181366816795.67631.100001748010792&type=1&l=4e33c99c11
Please call director Christy McGill at 246-7550 for further details, or if you’d like to be involved in the healthy food hub
See also Healthy Communities’ You Tube channel for comments on our developing food hub by former USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan, and a short film on the food hub (2012 Northern Nevada Food Summit): http://www.youtube.com/user/HealthyCommunitiesNV
Healthy Communities Coalition’s healthy food hub includes:
Community Roots garden center. For lots of photos, see the fan page at https://www.facebook.com/CommunityRoots.NV
Funding and/or technical assistance and/or materials for 8 school gardens and hoop houses in Lyon County. For dozens of photos, see https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.202024879865778.48371.100001748010792&type=1&l=703f93ad6f
Funding and/or technical assistance for community gardens and hoop houses in Silver Springs
Silver Stage Co-Op Association. For lots of photos, see https://www.facebook.com/pages/Silver-Stage-Co-Op-Association/242747915836689
Silver Stage Food Pantry. For lots of photos, see https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.430452697022994.96985.100001748010792&type=1&l=a9c673d0fe
Dayton Food Pantry. For lots of photos, see https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.150011438400456.35751.100001748010792&type=1&l=8c09b5bf86
Cooking classes for children at Boys and Girls Clubs and series of cooking classes for adults at Dayton Community Center
Diabetes self management and nutrition classes
Stand Tall youth teams peer-to-peer education on nutrition and fitness. For lots of fun photos of these energetic and effective groups, see https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.100358373365763.372.100001748010792&type=1&l=04059c94ca
Teen internships at farmers markets and school gardens
Promotion of Cottage Food Industries in Nevada (see https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.707150936019834.1073741870.100001748010792&type=1&l=9429a25cd2
Healthy Communities uses proven “Farm to School” strategies to increase local food in the school lunch program in Lyon, and local produce in Boys and Girls Clubs snacks. To do this, HCC works with local farmers, vendors, cooperatives, food management companies, the Lyon County School District, and the Mason Valley Boys and Girls Clubs sites throughout the county.