Forging a team for HEALth in Central!

While the Food Policy Coalition aims to operate within a broader regional realm, a focus on healthy eating policies and programs in Cleveland’s Central neighborhood has been undertaken by the FPC. HEAL (Healthy Eating/Active Living), an initiative developed by The Sisters of Charity Foundation, aims to promote equitable and adequate access to fresh, healthy food for Central residents, encourage better eating behaviors, and increase physical activity outlets in order to stifle the upsurge of preventable diseases that affect residents in the community and diminish quality of life. In order to accomplish this, HEAL partners are looking to understand the scope, scale and community receptiveness of services provided related to healthy eating and active living in Central by working collaboratively with those who administer the services and programs and those who seek to utilize them.

Ohio State Extension of Cuyahoga County and CCCFPC have developed a group, referred to as the HEAL Core Team, of highly motivated resident and organizational stakeholders to address barriers to fresh food access, safe and inviting recreation options, and adequate school nutrition and physical activity requirements. Through the involvement of the CCCFPC with this Core Team a policy agenda already established in the community by residents and other stakeholders can be mobilized.  Starting with a look into transportation and healthy food access as well as the community’s food system, CCCFPC and the Core Team can explore gaps and opportunities for improvement in transit and food access that work for everyone. In regards to school nutrition and physical activity requirements, topics communicated as priorities in the community, CCCFPC will work with three K-8 Cleveland Municipal School District schools in Central to implement recent state and federal legislation requiring improvements in these areas. Over the next year, CCCFPC and the Core Team intend to engage more community members, actors in the community food system (producers, distributors and consumers), school administrators, parents, recreational facilities, organizational leaders, and transportation authorities around the issues surrounding healthier, more active lifestyles.

For more information on HEAL in Central and our other partners, contact Erika Meschkat at 216-429-8200 x 212 or meschkat [dot] 1 [at] cfaes [dot] osu [dot] edu.

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