LiveWell Garfield County looks back on 2014
As LiveWell Garfield County’s second full year comes to a close, I’d like to talk about some of the accomplishments and successes of 2014. This work could not have been done without the inspiration, dedication, hard work and collaboration of the LiveWell Coalition, Steering Committee and community members. The desire to make Garfield County the healthiest County in Colorado is the driving force behind all of this good work.
GET MOVIN’ CHALLENGE
In May, we invited all of Garfield County to step up to the LiveWell Garfield County Get Movin’ Challenge to kick-start a healthier lifestyle and prove that Colorado is the most active state in the nation. Participants signed up online and joined the team of their city or town. Each participant logged 30 minutes of daily activity from May 1-30 to be eligible to win prizes. All minutes were accumulated to showcase the state’s collective activity.
Rankings for Garfield County (out of 181 cities that participated):
• 28th place overall, 1st place in Garfield County-Carbondale with 25 participants, averaging 50:10 minutes of daily exercise time
• 53rd place overall, 2nd place in Garfield County-Rifle with 34 participants, averaging 37:33 minutes of daily exercise time
• 74th place overall, 3rd place in Garfield County-Silt with 22 participants, averaging 28:41 minutes of daily exercise time
• 78th place overall, 4th place in Garfield County-Parachute with 19 participants, averaging 28:04 minutes of daily exercise
• 80th place overall, 5th place in Garfield County-Glenwood Springs with 57 participants, averaging 27:36 minutes of daily exercise time
• 85th place overall, 6 place in Garfield County-New Castle with 17 participants, averaging 26:36 minutes of daily exercise time
COMMUNITY GARDENS THAT GIVE BACK
These are not your traditional community gardens. The purpose of all of these gardens is to grow produce for those in need in our own communities and to educate children and parents about the benefits of growing your own food.
1. Abundance Garden in Parachute: 900 pounds of produce were harvested and distributed from June through August. Sixty-two people in need received produce from the garden.
2. New Castle Community Garden: 125 pounds of produce harvested and distributed from June through August. Two hundred people in need, including seniors in the Garfield County Senior Nutrition Program, received produce from the garden.
3. Mancinelli’s Children’s Learning Garden in Rifle: One thousand pounds of produce was harvested and distributed to 30 families in need from August through October. Seventy-eight kids participated in ACCESS Roaring Fork’s Boost Camp from July through August and learned about gardening and eating healthy foods. Because of the overwhelming excitement and need expressed by participants, the program continued through October in the Re-2 school district. A similar program is currently being taught through Enrichment Wednesdays in the Roaring Fork School District.
4. Silt Library Learning Garden: 40 kids and adults participated in planting and watering of the gardens. Two hundred seventy-eight kids attended story time and learned about the gardens from July through August.
THE GLEANING PROJECT
LiveWell Garfield County partnered with LIFT-UP, Garfield County Nutritional Services and four farmers markets throughout the county on the Gleaning Project. Community members and vendors were encouraged to bring produce that would otherwise be thrown away or go to waste to farmers market sites each week, which served as drop sites for produce. LIFT-UP volunteers and staff collected produce weekly and brought it to the nearest LIFT-UP food pantry, where it was weighed and recorded. Fresh produce donations to LIFT-UP increased by 90 percent July through August. More than 6,000 pounds of produce was gleaned from July through October and distributed to the five LIFT-UP locations as well as the Senior Nutrition Program. The Glenwood Springs Community Garden also donated 150 pounds of produce to the project.
SCHOOL FOOD IMPROVEMENT
Garfield School District Re-2 was awarded mini grant funding from LiveWell Garfield County in May 2014 to revamp their school lunch recipes in order to increase school lunch sales. This funding allowed Lori VanSlyke (Food Services Director) and her staff of 10 kitchen managers, to begin working with a dietitian from Grand River Health to analyze the current menu offerings and create new, healthier recipes. After overhauling the menu, the new recipes were featured at Back to School night in August for students and parents to sample along with feedback forms so that direct, anonymous input could be given. The recipes were overwhelmingly enjoyed by all that filled out response cards and thus were implemented at the schools. Re-2 has seen its lunch participation rates increase slightly since implementation, especially among middle and high school students.
‘FED UP’ SCREENING AND COMMUNITY DISCUSSION
Over 200 people attended the documentary screening and community discussion in Rifle, CO. Several community sponsors and local health expert panelists came together to make this event a success. The event brought great exposure not only to LiveWell Garfield County, but also to the harsh reality of the American obesity epidemic. Several community members have since stepped up to take action by getting their PTA groups involved, volunteering with LiveWell Garfield Coalition member organizations, and even circulating a petition to get a salad bar at one of the local grocery stores.
MINI GRANT PROGRAM
LiveWell Garfield County awarded a total of $39,925 in 2014 through the mini grant program. Fourteen different programs and projects that aim to improve upon healthy eating and active living throughout the county were awarded funding:
Garfield School District Re-2: Lunch Recipe Overhaul
Fat City Farmers: Silt Library Branch Learning Garden
Rifle Farmers Market: The Lemonade Project, which provides matching benefits for SNAP recipients to shop at the farmers market for fruits and veggies.
Grand Valley United Methodist Church: Abundance Garden
Town of New Castle: River Center Community Garden
Growing Food Forward: Mancinelli’s Children’s Learning Gardens
Garfield CLEER Energy: Bike/Walk to School Week 2015
Family Visitor Programs: Eating Smart, Being Active Program
City of Rifle: Rifle Creek Trail connection
LIFT-UP: Refrigeration unit for the Carbondale location
RFTA: Regional Travel Patterns Study and bike/pedestrian route planning
Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers: Young Stewards Initiative and trail projects
Grand River Health: greenhouse equipment to grow produce year-round
Garfield School District Re-2: healthy cooking classes for all staff
LiveWell Garfield County strives to collaborate and connect with organizations and programs whose missions are promoting healthy eating and active living. Here are just a few of the organizations that we have been fortunate enough to partner with in 2014: city of Glenwood Springs, city of Rifle, town of Carbondale, town of New Castle, town of Parachute, town of Silt, RFTA, Garfield Re-1 schools, Garfield Re-2 schools, Garfield 16 schools, Grand River Health, Mountain Family Health Centers, Grand Valley United Methodist Church, Clean Energy Economy for the Region, Roaring Fork Family Resource Center, ACCESS Roaring Fork, Growing Food Forward, Rifle Growing Community, LIFT-UP, Garfield County Public Libraries, Fat City Farmers, Roaring Fork Food Policy Council, Valley View Hospital, Family Visitor Programs, Hispanic Alliance Colorado, Rifle Moms for Moms, Garfield County Human Services, Garfield County Public Health, Cooking Matters, Alpine Bank, MasterMinds 4 Wellness, Eagle Springs Organic, Bookcliff Conservation District, CSU Extension, Colorado Action for Healthy Kids, Valley Settlement Project, Hunger Free Colorado, Sonoran Institute, Colorado Food Rescue Alliance, Colorado Mountain College and Aspen Community Foundation.
The LiveWell Garfield County Coalition brings together community resources to promote affordable access to and education about healthy eating and active living, to reduce the burden of obesity-created chronic disease, for all who live, work, learn and play in Garfield County. It is the vision of LiveWell Garfield County to be the healthiest county in the state. For more information about LiveWell Garfield County, please visit http://www.garfield-county.com/livewell/index.aspx.
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The city of Glenwood Springs has proposed investing $5.76 million for street improvements in the 2020 budget.