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Shannon Baldwin

Articles by Shannon Baldwin

Focus Groups Shed Light on Healthy Food Access Barriers in San Jose

Food Empowerment Project (FEP) is working to increase healthy food access in low-income communities and communities of color in California. Their first community food assessment was in Santa Clara County in 2007, and they found many barriers keep Latinos from accessing healthy food, like affordability and availability. More recently, the group has released their findings from several focus groups in San Jose, hoping to understand what keeps folks in that community from accessing fresh fruits, vegetables, and other healthy fare. FEP worked with the community organizations Somos Mayfair, Sacred Heart Community Services, and CommUniverCity, which recruited their members to participate in focus groups. According to the report, three focus groups were conducted between January and ...

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New App Connects Boston Residents with Urban Agriculture Info

In December 2013, the city of Boston adopted article 89, which serves as a structure for how urban farming can function in Boston. The article establishes zoning regulations for the operation of urban agriculture activities and provides standards for the siting, design, maintenance and modification of urban agriculture activities that address public safety, and minimize impacts on residents and historic resources in the City of Boston. Folks in Boston are excited about urban farming becoming more of a reality. To support the new regulations, the City of Boston has come together with an app design team, the redevelopment authority, and outside donors to design an app that residents can download and use to navigate urban agriculture in Boston. Called urb.ag,  the app provides ...

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“SugarScience” Brings Sugar Research and Resources to the Public

Added sugar isn't just for sweets anymore. Read the ingredients inside things like pasta sauce and sandwich bread, and you might be surprised how much extra sugar you'll find. Public health experts are pointing to excess sugar as a main contributor to diet-related illnesses like diabetes and heart disease, especially in vulnerable populations like Latinos. A team of scientists from the University of California, San Francisco have developed a new website, SugarScience.org, to take sugar-related scientific information out of medical journals and make it available to the public, to help individuals and communities make healthy choices. SugarScience.org is designed as an authoritative source for the scientific evidence about sugar and its impact on health.  The site reflects an ...

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Diabetes Classes and Grocery Store Tours Happening in Texas Grocery Chain

Families in the state of Texas that struggle with diet-related illness, many of which are Latino, are about to get some help from their local grocery store. The Texas grocery store chain H-E-B is partnering with the American Diabetes Association to empower families in Texas to shop, cook, and eat healthier. Launched in November 2014, the H-E-B Nutrition Services program will include registered dietitians and nutritionists in-store who will provide affordable nutrition education and care, private one-on-one consultations, grocery shopping tours, cooking demonstrations, group health classes, kids’ cooking classes, “lunch and learn” sessions, disease management classes and more. Not every H-E-B will have a nutrition services program and registered dietitians are based at ...

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Congregation to Community: Shared Use by Faith-Based Organizations in North Carolina

As faith-based organizations turn their focus to health and wellness, many recognize the need to direct these efforts to their communities in addition to their members. Shared use – also called “joint use” and “community use” – traditionally occurs when government entities or other organizations agree to open or broaden access to their facilities for community use. Faith-based organizations can do this too, as they also have recreational facilities that are not in continual use. ChangeLab Solutions, in partnership with the North Carolina Division of Public Health, developed this fact sheet to highlight how faith-based organizations can play an important role in improving the health and well-being of their neighbors by opening up their facilities and ...

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Redevelopment on San Antonio’s Eastside to Include Urban Farm

The Wheatley Courts neighborhood on San Antonio's Eastside has seen better days. Run-down public housing, unsafe neighborhoods, and poor access to healthy foods have made life more difficult for folks who live there. The City of San Antonio took notice, and secured federal grant funding to redevelop the area. The community-driven Wheatley Transformation Plan will create a viable and sustainable neighborhood with quality housing, education, employment, healthcare, and economic development opportunities----including better food access. In fact, an urban farm is planned to take-over currently vacant lots in Wheatley Court. Spearheaded by the San Antonio Housing Authority(SAHA), the farm will be built alongside the new housing units, to be finished as folks move in and can begin ...

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Healthier Food for WIC Participants in Alabama? It’s at the Drive-Thru

Latinos comprise 41 percent of participants in the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) food assistance program. The WIC program in Mobile County, Alabama has been working to encourage participants to use their food assistance to purchase healthy food for their families and to stay away from junk. In fact, Mobile’s program, one of the largest in the state, was responsible for infusing more than $11 million into the county in the form of vouchers for fresh fruits and vegetables last year, among other healthy food choices. Now they are working to make healthy eating even more convenient. The WIC program at the Mobile County Health Department opened the state’s first drive-thru window Wednesday, Oct. 22, at the Southwest Mobile Health Center. WIC participants that don’t need ...

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Update: San Francisco Soda Tax Barely Falls Short

Latino children tend to drink more sugary beverages than their peers, but folks across the country, including elected officials, are trying to make healthier beverages the easier option. A handful of cities in California have tried to pass legislation that would tax sugary sodas. Now it's San Francisco's turn joins the ranks. In early November 2013, San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener proposed a 2 cents-per-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages. If the board passes his proposal, San Francisco voters will see it on the ballot November 2014. Wiener's proposal would add a tax of 2 cents per ounce on all sugar-sweetened beverages, defined as drinks with 25 or more calories that have added sugary sweeteners and are less than 50 percent fruit or vegetable juice. The money ...

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Aquaponic and TransFarming Meetup Group Brings Sustainable Farming to San Antonio

New ways to grow fresh fruits and vegetables in urban areas are being explored in San Antonio, Texas. Patty Taylor, a recent Dallas transplant, wanted to learn more about backyard farming and aquaponics, a food production system that uses fish and plants to sustain one another in a co-habitat. She formed the San Antonio Aquaponic and TransFarming Meetup Group, hoping to bring together like-minded, motivated individuals to learn from each other and begin building gardens and planting seeds. The meetup group has around 160 members, and hosts many different learning opportunities for the San Antonio community. Want to raise your own bees or install a wicking bed in your back yard? The Aquaponics and TransFarming Meetup Group has learning opportunities for all types of ...

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