Healthy Food Awareness and Education Hub

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Access to healthy food is partially defined by the choices that are available in our environment- and Marlborough residents face these obstacles such as limited healthy food retail options in the neighborhood.  Access is also shaped by what’s affordable, and we learned that many families in Marlborough have to make tough choices when making payments for rent, utilities, and transportation- and that healthy food often isn’t the highest priority when making financial decisions. When healthy food is available, another factor can create an obstacle to healthy choices- internal barriers such as awareness and knowledge of healthy food assets in the Marlborough neighborhood, as well as the motivation and ability to prioritize and make healthy food choices.

A Healthy Food Awareness and Education campaign, with headquarters in the redeveloped Marlborough School, could help the Marlborough neighborhoods address and overcome internal barriers.  We learned that there are many healthy food assets in the Marlborough neighborhoods- such as an urban farm and community gardens with fresh local food; more than nine hunger relief programs including after school programs and church food pantries; and a strong foundation of healthy food leadership coming together through this plan process to lead the future of healthy food in Marlborough.  An education and awareness program can help make Marlborough residents aware of these community resources.

An intergenerational program with hands-on training and mentorship components can address internal barriers and help both parents and children make healthier choices.  In the future, this program could be housed at the redeveloped Marlborough School, and the program could include food production education through a community garden on the school grounds. Coordination with the Green Infrastructure Growers mentorship program could incorporate stormwater management and productive reuse of vacant land as a source of education and job training.  A certified kitchen could offer a space for nutrition and food preparation classes, as well as a place for local growers and hunger relief agencies to process and store fresh foods or to make value added goods for sale or service. A meeting space for the Healthy Foods Leadership Network could provide a home base for community leaders and residents to collaborate as they make progress toward healthier Marlborough neighborhoods.

Additional information to implement this opportunity below:

Implementation pathway:

  1. Develop partnerships through the Healthy Foods Leadership Network to identify the core organizers and aligned community initiatives to develop and support this program.
  2. Identify interim locations to host awareness and education activities until the Marlborough Elementary school is redeveloped.
  3. Design a program and develop a workplan, incorporating it as part of the Healthy Food Leadership Network’s overall workplan for healthy food priorities in Marlborough.
  4. Incorporate this program into coordinated funding proposals for healthy foods implementation, and seek out independent funding sources focused on educational activities.
  5. Work with the Marlborough Community Coalition to incorporate Healthy Foods Education hub activities into design and partnerships for school redevelopment.

Champions and their roles:

The healthy food awareness campaign can be championed by the Healthy Foods Leadership Network, and the many agencies and programs that are working to support healthy food access in the Marlborough neighborhoods. Aimee Alderman is a Co-Champion of the leadership network and is already making headway through the Parents as Teachers program in the Center School district.

Partner organizations:

All organizations that participate in the Healthy Foods Leadership Network can participate in this program, both to build their ability to coordinate and collaborate in their work, and to combine efforts for joint promotion of their programs to Marlborough residents.  Some of those existing programs, and other aligned initiatives in the Kansas City community include:

Center Elementary School Parents as Teachers and Success by Six programs: Teachers in this program are working one on one with families to support healthy child development, and incorporating healthy foods education as part of their work.  Aimee Alderman is the primary point of contact.

Center Elementary School’s Parent University can support parents in making healthy food choices through budgeting, nutrition and food preparation education. Tracye Smith (816-349-3444) at Center Elementary is the point of contact at Center Elementary.

Satchel Paige Elementary is participating in the KC Healthy Kids Farm to School program, teaching kids about eating local, seasonal foods through tasting events led by food service directors, chefs and farmers, and supporting Satchel Paige in purchasing food from local producers. Satchel Paige Dietician Steven Newman and Principal April Flowers ((816) 418-5050) are primary contacts for the program.

Many agencies are providing multi-course programs in nutrition, healthy food purchasing, food preparation, and other skills through one or a series of workshops. Those agencies include Catholic Charities, MU Extension’s Eating from the Garden, and Harvester’s  Project Strength program. The Healthy Foods Leadership Network can work with these programs to identify how they might partner with the Marlborough program.

Funding sources or supportive programs:

Work with the Healthy Foods Leadership Network to incorporate funding for the awareness and education campaign into larger requests to implement healthy eating priorities for the Marlborough Neighborhoods.  The Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City and Menorah Legacy Foundation’s Healthy for Life program are ongoing funding sources that support this kind of work.

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