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Shannon Baldwin

Articles by Shannon Baldwin

City of Boston Plans to Develop Urban Agriculture

When large urban centers begin allowing citizens to bring farming into the city limits, everyone benefits from better access to fresh, healthy, and locally grown foods. This month, the city of Boston received a $25,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to support an Urban Agriculture Visioning group, which will build on efforts to align Boston’s diverse urban gardening and farming sector, and establish a common goal that meets the needs of all stakeholders. “Urban Agriculture creates jobs and food access points in Boston’s neighborhoods,” said Mayor Martin Walsh in a Sustainability City Network article. “Aligning the goals and strategies of all constituents engaged in urban growing will allow us to better leverage resources, and to work more efficiently ...

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Better Health Coming to Corner Store Shelves in West Oakland

In West Oakland, there are plenty of liquor and small corner stores that sell junk to the already at-risk community they serve. HOPE Collaborative (Health for Oakland’s People and Environment) plans to help these stores sell better food and become beacons of health. HOPE Collaborative is a community collaborative working towards policy and systems change to promote the health and well-being of families and youth in the most vulnerable communities of East and West Oakland. Their new Healthy Corner Store Project connects corner stores with financing opportunities, community and technical support that will allow stores to provide fresh, healthier food options. The project promotes resident leadership in building an efficient neighborhood-based food system that will ultimately ...

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Santa Fe Food Policy Council Works on Food Access Plan

Santa Fe, New Mexico is home to rich culture and beautiful landscapes, but many families living here don't have easy access to affordable fresh fruits of vegetables. The Santa Fe Food Policy Council has been working to assess challenges and brainstorm solutions, and they are getting close to taking action. The council conducted a three-year study in the region, where centuries-old farming traditions still take place but youths deal with obesity and hunger. According to a public radio story, the council says its main priorities are improving public transportation so low-income residents can easily get to grocery stores or farmers markets, increasing the presence of locally grown food in schools and preserving farmland. A plan will be brought to city council to be voted on in ...

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Healthy Corner Market Policy Passes in Baldwin Park

Community activists in Baldwin Park, CA have been working for years to improve the food environment, working to swap chips and sugary snacks for more fresh fruits and vegetables. In 2008, the California Center for Public Health Advocacy (CCPHA), the Baldwin Park Resident Advisory Committee (BPRAC), and their partners started working with 14 corner stores to establish the Healthy Selection Program; this effort helped several corner stores begin selling healthy items. These efforts also led to specific policy research and development. In 2012, the Baldwin Park Healthy Corner Store Policy was drafted to help local corner store owners provide and promote healthy foods, limit youth exposure to negative advertising, and adjust floor plans to encourage healthy choices. On August 20th, ...

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Reach for More: Healthier Beverage Vending for Government Agencies in Rural Settings

California’s rural communities face physical, geographic, social, and economic barriers to good health. High obesity rates in rural areas point to the need for healthier eating and drinking habits. CA4Health, in collaboration with ChangeLab Solutions, developed Reach for More: Healthier Beverage Vending for Government Agencies in Rural Settings to help communities assess their current procurement and vending contracts and policies. This guide outlines the context, steps, and relationships necessary for successfully implementing healthy vending in rural settings. While the guide is geared towards rural communities in California, any rural community in the U.S. could benefit from from information shared. Download the guide ...

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Minnesota Health System Phases Out Sugary Drinks

Hospital systems across the country are taking an inward look at how they promote health among their patients, employees, and visitors. Many health systems have begun removing unhealthy snack foods and sugary drinks from their campuses, and a health system in Minnesota is joining the ranks. Aligning with The Commons Health Hospital Challenge, Lakewood Health System announced a new beverage policy which includes the phase-out of soft drinks, energy and sports drinks and other sugary beverage sales and distribution. According to a press release, the policy was initiated in spring 2014 with an effective implementation date of October 1st, 2014. Lakewood Health System’s new alternative beverage menu will include flavored and infused water, sugar-alternative soda, and low calorie ...

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New Grants to Fund Food Access Projects in Central North Carolina

Voices into Action: The Families, Food, and Health Project is a research and outreach project led by N.C. State University, N.C. A&T State University and North Carolina Cooperative Extension focused on improving food access and places to be active. At the beginning of October 2014, Voices into Action announced another round of grant funding for community projects that would help improve access to healthy and affordable food and places to be active in Harnett County. Grant awards will be between $100 and $2,000 for projects like starting a small community garden, providing nutrition education classes or improving local food pantries. Applications are due Friday October 31st by 5:00 P.M. Harnett County has a small but growing Latino population; over 5%. Learn more about ...

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NYC Mayor Pushes Forward on Soda Size Limits

Back in 2012, New York City's Board of Health approved a ban on selling sugary drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces. The health board cited rising rates of obesity and diet-related issues in both kids and adults as the driving force behind the new limits. The state  supreme court eventually struck down the ban, but NYC's new mayor, Mayor Bill de Blasio, has begun conversations with the board of health, city council, and the soda industry to start thinking about new ways to regulate large sugary drinks. "Mayor de Blasio has made clear that limiting portion size and reducing consumption of large sugary drinks is key to fighting obesity," said Phil Walzak, the mayor's spokesman, in a statement. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, all stakeholders are hoping ...

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Greensboro Neighborhood Moves Ahead with Plan for Grocery Co-op

In Greensboro, North Carolina 33% of residents live in a USDA-declared "food desert", a low-income area that is more than a mile from a grocery store. For folks who live here, eating healthy is a daily struggle, with no fresh produce easily available. District 2 City Council member Jamal Fox represents folks who live in the food desert. He and the Renaissance Community Cooperative are working on a proposal to bring a grocery store into the neighborhood. Community meetings are on-going to figure out exactly how to bring healthier food into this community. Read more here. Update: The Renaissance Community Cooperative is set to open in 2015. Besides providing affordable fresh fruits and vegetables for residents in this food desert area, the co-op will provide ...

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