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Shannon Baldwin

Articles by Shannon Baldwin

Neighbors in East Austin Say No to Soda

Parents in the East Austin neighborhood of Dove Springs saw how sugary drinks were adding pounds not only on to their own waistlines but to their children's as well. Wanting to take control of their health and motivate others to do the same, the parents formed Manatial de Salud, with the mission to promote well-being in the Dove Springs community through healthy lifestyles and positive environments. The group began a "No Soda Challenge", where families would sign up and pledge to reduce their sugary drink intake. Manatial de Salud promoted their pledge at school festivals and other community events. On their website, you can check out videos (in Spanish) highlighting families that are phasing-out sodas and replacing them with water and delicious fruit-filled waters, like agua ...

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Bodegas with Junk Food Won’t Cut it Anymore in Reading

Folks in Reading, PA see more fast food restaurants and corner stores than they do fresh food outlets. Bodegas are commonplace too, catering to the city's large Latino population. Some community organizations in Reading are working to get healthier, fresh foods in their underserved area. The seasonal Penn Street Market outside the Berks Community Health Center in began accepting state-issued farmers' market vouchers and food stamps last year. The vouchers are just for fruits and vegetables, but the food stamps can be used for goods such as cheese, yogurt, bread and eggs. The Food Trust, a non profit that works to improve fresh food access in areas of need, is working in Reading to bring better, healthier foods into the neighborhoods that need them. Read more about food access in ...

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Food Bank has Many Ways to Get Folks Fresh Produce

Foodlink in Rochester, NY is more than an average food bank. Serving communities in central and western New York, 11% of their clients are Latino. Foodlink claims to not only fight hunger, but also build self-sustainability through improved food access. Through a new mobile food market launched in summer 2013 and various farm stands across the region, Foodlink is bringing healthy foods to folks who have limited access to them. Right now, they are looking to work with corner stores in the area as part of the Rochester Healthy Store Initiative. Grant money will be provided to these stores to sell, market and keep fresh produce.  The hope is more people will purchase fruits and vegetables if they are easily accessible. Learn more about their food access programs here. Foodlink ...

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Farmers’ Market Moves in Next to a Hospital

A hospital in Louisville, KY has a new, healthy neighbor.  The Bluegrass Farmers' Market began setting up its stands on Thursdays in June 2013. Next to Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital in south Louisville, the farmers' market  has been welcomed by hospital administration, staff, patients, and the surrounding community. Local farmers gather each week to sell fruits, vegetables, homemade baked goods, jellies, jams, and more. At least one of the stands now takes Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. Hopefully more will be able to do so soon, allowing everyone regardless of income to enjoy fresh, healthy ...

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Improving Food Labeling

Nutrition labels on the foods we eat are the best way to learn exactly what's in our favorite snacks. Some labels, however, can be confusing, unclear, and even misleading. A handful of elected officials in Washington, DC want to change that. In September 2013, the “Food Labeling Modernization Act of 2013,” was introduced. According to the press release, the Food Labeling Modernization Act looks at food labeling reform in a comprehensive manner, addressing front-of-package labeling, misleading health claims, and requiring updates to the Nutrition Facts Panel and the ingredient list. When consumers are able to have all the information presented in an easy-to-read manor, they can make a better informed decision about what they eat. Read more about the act ...

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Texas Passes Legislation to Turn Unused Lands into Grocery Stores

Lawmakers in Texas have approved a new law that gives folks the option of using properties in land banks to improve the health of their community. In Texas, before the act was passed, land in the land bank could only be used for housing. Now, the city can allow people to use this land to build grocery stores in areas that desperately need better access to fresh, healthy foods. An active community member in Dallas, Texas wants his community to be aware of the new legislation that could potentially help their south Dallas neighborhood. Can your community take advantage of Texas's new ...

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Produce Bus Rolls out in Western Ohio

The Allen County community met in September to talk about ways to tackle health issues facing the county's kids. Making corner stores healthier and removing unhealthy snacks from schools are a few ways strategies the community has tried so far. Activate Allen County, a health collaborate striving to make healthy changes in the community, has been at forefront of raising the public's awareness about childhood obesity as well as strategies to fight it. One way the collaborative is trying to bringer better food options into neighborhoods that lack them is through a mobile produce bus. At the September community meeting, folks got a chance to check out the new ride, set to launch on October 1st. The bus, a project of Active Allen County and the West Ohio Food Bank, will bring ...

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Food Access Research Motivates a Town to Take Action

Much of Florence, AZ is considered a food desert, lacking easy access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Latinos make up the largest minority group in Florence and feel the realities of having to drive over ten miles one way just to buy fruits and vegetables. Elizabeth Kizer, a public health doctoral student at the University of Arizona, has been researching the food environment in Florence, hoping to find trends and get the community involved in proposing and implementing solutions to get healthier food into the community. She met with interested members in the community to share her findings and brainstorm possible solutions. Kizer found, among other things, that Florence lacked enough local food production to have a farmers' market, restaurants offered poor to no healthy ...

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Group Turns Forgotten Land into Community Gardens

Well House provides temporary housing to the homeless in South East Grand Rapids, Michigan. But they do more than just offer a bed to those in need. They also have a handful of community gardens, including one they recently started on reclaimed land from the local land bank.  Residents can work in the garden and grow healthy food they can eat themselves. Well House also sells some of their fruits and vegetables at a weekly market behind their main property, Wednesdays from 4PM-7PM. Check out their Facebook for more ways you can get ...

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