Local group starts work on a plan to improve access to healthy food

I'm excited to be a member of a new leadership team that started work today on a community plan to create environments that make it easier for people to eat healthy foods.

The group, convened by LiveWell Lawrence with support from the Kansas Health Foundation, will build on the results of the Douglas County Community Health Assessment. The study showed that area citizens want nutritious foods to be more convenient and affordable in everyday settings such as workplaces, schools, neighborhood markets, healthcare facilities and community-funded facilities.

My fellow workgroup members include:

  • Aron Cromwell, Lawrence city commissioner
  • Mike Gaughan, Douglas County commissioner
  • Vanessa Sanburn, Lawrence Public Schools board president
  • Jeremy Farmer, Just Food director
  • Bob Nugent,Transit director, City of Lawrence
  • Dan Partridge, Health Department director
  • Susan Johnson, K-State Research and Extension nutrition educator
  • Debbie Carter, Lawrence Memorial Hospital Food Service director
  • Bruce Passman, retired educator
  • Charlie Bryan, Health Department planner
  • Eileen Horn, City of Lawrence/Douglas County sustainability coordinator
  • Christina Holt, KU Work Group on Community Health (group facilitator)
  • Chuck Sepers, KU Work Group on Community Health

Changing environments and cultural norms is tough work. A host of barriers--economic, social, and institutional--may make progress slow. We certainly don't have all of the answers.

We'll be counting on Wellcommons readers to help us figure out how we can promote everyday food environments that support good health. Please share your ideas and concerns here, or contact me at marilynhull@dccfoundation.org.

Tagged: LiveWell Lawrence, Community Health Assessment, healthy environments, access to healthy food


focusedonfitness 6 years, 1 month ago

This is such a great thing for our community, Marilyn, and long overdue! I'm looking forward to reading about how we can all work together and make this happen. Thanks for sharing this!

Marilyn Hull 6 years, 1 month ago

Thanks for the encouragement. Please contact me if you have ideas to share. We would love to hear from you.

Marilyn Hull 6 years, 1 month ago

I know you are concerned about a "nanny state" mentality, and frankly, I am too. We Americans value our freedom to choose.

Leslie Swearingen 6 years, 1 month ago

I am so glad that you put social in as one of the factors concerning eating healthy. The culture one lives in does determine to a great degree what is eaten. Someone asked in a magazine, I forget which, why it is that if you eat Mexican food in the US you gain a lot of weight, but Mexicans in Mexico are rarely obese. The answer is that Mexican food in fast food restaurants are not authenic but put in a lot of fat, sugar and salt to satisfy American taste. Which to me means you can eat so called fatening foods if you just leave out the extras. I love the idea that you are doing this. It is beyond time that we got tough with ourselves and our oral fixation with food. And, I do include myself in that.

Marilyn Hull 6 years, 1 month ago

Eating is one of life's great pleasures. We can keep it that way and support great health at the same time.

Marilyn Hull 6 years, 1 month ago

My great grandparents and parents ate fresh-from-the-farm food. My parents embraced the processed food of the post-WWII period and suffered the consequences. My dad was overweight and had multiple joint replacements, heart disease, gout and other problems. My mom had high blood pressure and was borderline diabetic. Of my six siblings, half are obese.

Lawrence Morgan 6 years, 1 month ago

How many minorities are there on the leadership team?

Marilyn Hull 6 years, 1 month ago

Excellent question. I am pained to say there are currently none. In my experience, it is very hard to find people of color who are available for this type of committee. If you know of someone interested in serving, please let me know and I will invite him/her.

Jeremy Farmer and Dan Partridge are very good advocates for the diverse people they serve.

Emily Hampton 6 years, 1 month ago

Sounds like the same ol' crew. Perhaps new ideas could come from new participants? And to the above question, there are no minorities as usual. Thank you for pointing that out.

Marilyn Hull 6 years, 1 month ago

Please help us by nominating some people of color who are willing to serve.

Marilyn Hull 6 years, 1 month ago

You can email me at marilynhull@dccfoundation.org or call me at 843-8727. I will pass the nomination on to the committee chair, Susan Johnson. We will need an email address or phone number to contact the person.

Marilyn Hull 6 years, 1 month ago

Thanks to kansasplains1 and hmm for nudging us to engage people of color. We asked Rev. Verdell Taylor of St.Luke AME Church to recommend someone. He said he himself would like to be part of the group, so we've added him.

If any Wellcommons readers would like to nominate additional people, feel free to contact me at 843-8727 or marilynhull@dccfoundation.org. I will pass the suggestions on to the chair.

Emily Hampton 6 years ago

That's really great news! Thank you for making the effort to reach out. I will also continue to think about who would be a good addition.

Karrey Britt 6 years, 1 month ago

I like the conversation here to improve our community's well being. Thanks Marilyn ... for using the reader's suggestions! I think it would be great to reach out to those who have trouble accessing foods.

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