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Good Food Access Fund is Ready to Take on MN's Healthy Food Access Problem!

More than 340,000 Minnesotans face both distance and income as a barrier to obtaining healthy, affordable food such as fruits and vegetables, low fat dairy, whole grains, and lean meats and poultry.1 This problem is only worsening with 61% of Minnesota counties losing grocery stores since 2007.2 Limited access to healthy, affordable foods results in disproportionately higher rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other diet-related health problems.3 It is also one of the key contributing factors to the health disparities that currently exist in Minnesota among many communities of color.4

Last fall, the American Heart Association and the Minnesotans for Healthy Kids Coalition obtained a Voices for Healthy Kids grant to create a healthy food financing policy solution to address this state-wide problem. We knew that such programs in other states were successful where grocery stores were reopened in low access areas, improving good food access and revitalizing local economies. 

In true Minnesotan fashion, we decided to do things a little differently. Based on feedback garnered during our ongoing community engagement and in accordance with the Minnesota Food Charter, we knew that solely reopening grocery stores would not be the answer. Working with partners across health, food insecurity, agriculture, and community-investment interests, we proposed the Good Food Access Fund which would be established and funded by the Minnesota Legislature. It would provide grants, low-cost loans, and technical support for food-related enterprises in areas of the state where people don’t have the ability to choose healthy, affordable foods. Those enterprises could include new or enhanced grocery stores, mobile markets and farmers’ markets, fresh food refrigeration, and other innovative community-driven solutions. 

We introduced the Good Food Access Fund bill at the beginning of the Minnesota legislative session in early March. We expected this to be an introduction/education year for the Good Food Access Fund – but WOW!!! Thanks to our amazing chief bill authors, Senator Dan Sparks and Representative Rod Hamilton, and the work of all our partners, the bill got so much more attention and support than we anticipated. The bill went on a whirlwind tour of 6 committee hearings in 6 weeks!  The last of the hearings, was before the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Equity, a new committee that represents the first time the legislature has taken a serious look at addressing racial disparities. The Subcommittee included our bill in their budget recommendations and appropriated $5 million in one-time funding!! This is far from the finish line and a final win is still a long ways away with many hurdles – but this is a HUGE accomplishment! The next few weeks of the legislative session will tell whether this $5 million appropriation becomes a reality. 

Our success this year really speaks to how relevant and important the issue of food access is in Minnesota; it crosses partisan and geographic divides. It’s not just an economic issue, it’s a health and equity issue as well. We have sent the message that improving food access is a priority in Minnesota! Thanks to all of the YTC members who have responded to our Action Alerts! We look forward to your continued support as we move forward! Please like and follow the campaign on Facebook for more information!

___________________________

[1] Mattessich, P. & Rausch, E. (2016).Healthy food access: A view of the landscape in Minnesota and lessons learned from healthy food financing initiatives. Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and Wilder Research.

2 Center for Rural Policy and Development. Grocery Stores by the Number. Mankato, MN 2014.

3 Manon, M. & Kim, E. (2012).Food for every child: The need for more supermarkets in Minnesota. The Food Trust. www.healthyfoodaccess.org/resources/library/food-for-every-child-the-need-for-more-supermarkets-in-minnesota 

4http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/chs/POC/POCSpring2009.pdf://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/chs/POC/POCSpring2009.pdf


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Symposium Attendees Taught to "Rethink Your Drink"

Attendees at the Worksite Wellness Symposium learned just how much sugar is in their daily beverages. We started out our 15 minute breakout session with a Price is Right style game, "Higher or Lower?"  Attendees had three plates of sugary treats in front of them, next to a 20 oz bottle of soda.  They had 30 seconds to determine whether the treat had a higher or lower sugar content than the soda.  Before the next game they were given facts on how much sugar the American Heart Association recommends for adult women, adult men, children, and teenagers. 

The next game was "The Sugar Shuffle!"  Attendees had two minutes to match up the amount of teaspoons of sugar with the correct drink on the board.  They were surprised at how much sugar was actually in the beverages they and their family consume every day!

Before they moved on to the next session, we asked them to sign a "Rethink Your Drink" pledge card, pledging to consume zero sugary beverages for the entire month of March, which happens to be Nutrition Month.

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The Good Food Access Fund Campaign Kickoff was a Success!

This past Tuesday, the Good Food Access Fund Campaign Kickoff took place at The Wilder Center in St. Paul.  We were fortunate to have a group of more than 100 health, food, equity, agriculture and community-development advocates, led by the Minnesotans for Healthy Kids Coalition. The Good Food Access Fund seeks to address the insufficient access to healthy and affordable foods in Minnesota.

At the kickoff event, we learned about new key research findings surrounding healthy food access, availability, and affordability issues in Minnesota. We also spent time exploring ways to engage with and support the Good Food Access Fund Campaign.

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Register Now for the Minnesotans for Healthy Kids Coalition Lobby Day 2016!

Register now for the Minnesotans for Healthy Kids Coalition Lobby Day!

Don’t miss a chance to lend your voice to help improve the health of Minnesota kids by attending our 2nd Minnesotans For Healthy Kids Coalition Day at the Capitol. Join us on March 16, 2016 to advocate with others around the state by talking with your lawmakers.

During the morning you will attend advocacy workshops and trainings and then put those new skills to the test by meeting with your state legislators. Breakfast and lunch are included, and meetings with your state legislators will be scheduled for you.

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016
Minnesota History Center
345 W. Kellogg Blvd, St. Paul, MN 55102
8:00 AM—4:00 PM
 
Register online now!

Or call 952-278-7928 by March 2, 2016
 
 
This year's issues include:
Quality Physical Education
Safer Walking and Biking 
 

For more details and to register, visit www.heart.org/MNHealthyKids

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Join us at the Good Food Access Fund Campaign Kick Off!

The Good Food Access Fund campaign is off to a GREAT start for this legislative session.  Senator Dan Sparks (DFL) is our chief bill author, and we are building grassroots and organizational support throughout Minnesota.

Please join us for our campaign kickoff event on February 23, 2016 to learn more about this initiative to bring healthy, affordable food access to underserved communities throughout our state.




Good Food Access Fund Campaign Kick Off
Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016
Registration and Lunch starts at 11:30 AM
Program 12:00 - 2:30 PM

REGISTER ONLINE HERE!

Amherst H. Wilder Foundation
451 Lexington Parkway North
St. Paul, MN 55104

Lunch will be provided. No cost to attend but advance registration is required.
Free parking is available at the venue.

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Pump Up P.E. Webinar

On Monday, January 25, 2016 join us from 12:30pm-2pm for a webinar on how physical educators can better engage parents as champions of physical education and school health. Hosted by the Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity’s workgroup on Childhood Nutrition & Physical Activity in Educational Settings, this webinar will feature physical educators, school leaders, physicians, and a parent who have all worked to promote physical education and community health in partnership with schools. Participants will learn practical strategies for when and how to engage parents and the role parents can play in advocating for physical education and physical activity in schools. Click here to read more about the upcoming webinar.

Register for the webinar today!

Speakers include:

Sandy Noel, retired physical educator and co-chair of the IAPO workgroup

Mark Peysakhovich, Senior Director of Government Relations at the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and co-chair of the IAPO workgroup

Dan Phelps, Assistant Principal, Hononegah Community High School

Martha Carmen, Physical Education/Science Teacher, Edison Park Elementary School

Tim Sanborn, Cardiology Division, NorthShore University HealthSystem and Clinical Professor, University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine

Sandy Shackelford, parent from O’Fallon, Illinois

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Expanded Healthy Food Access Plan Backed by MN Health Advocates

Check out this article from the Public News Service! Learn about the new Good Food Access Fund campaign going on in Minnesota!

ST. PAUL, Minn. - As many people are planning for their next big holiday meal, health advocates say about 900,000 Minnesotans don't have access to affordable and nutritious foods. To help, several groups are backing an initiative called the Good Food Access Fund.

Lance Knuckles, community outreach director for the Community Reinvestment Fund, said the problem also includes about 200,000 kids in the state.

"A full 27 percent of Minnesota's youth between the ages of 10 and 17 are overweight or obese, due in part to the lack of access to healthy foods." Check out the rest of the article here

Photo: iStockPhoto

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Save the Date - 2016 Legislative Breakfast!

Can you believe that 2015 is almost over? The new Legislative Session is quickly approaching and with that comes our annual breakfast! This year we have teamed up with the Healthier Iowa Coalition and will be focusing on our Safe Routes to School efforts. RSVP today!

Healthier Iowa Legislative Breakfast at the Capitol
Wednesday, January 13, 2016 from 7 - 9 AM (stop by anytime!)
Iowa State Capitol - Rotunda, 1007 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines, IA

We'll be talking about the importance of Safe Routes to School and there will be activities for the kids, so feel free to bring the whole family!

Safe Routes to School creates safe and convenient opportunities for children to bike and walk to and from school, helping to reverse the alarming rise in childhood obesity. It will also promote academic performance and reduces healthcare costs in the state of Iowa.

We'd love to see you there! Use this opportunity to grab a free heart-healthy breakfast and spend 5 or 10 minutes introducing yourself to your lawmakers. It's the perfect time to let them know what's on your mind as they go to work for YOU.

Just click this link to RSVP today!

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IAHPERD Convention

On November 19th and 20th, hundreds of Illinois Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (IAHPERD) members gathered at the IAHPERD Convention in Saint Charles, Illinois to hear the latest on Physical Education (P.E.) in Illinois schools. 248 attendees helped protect P.E. in Illinois by signing a petition asking Governor Rauner and their state legislators to not propose any legislation that will eliminate or reduce physical education in Illinois schools.

Add your voice to the fight and text HEARTIL to 52886! Then help us spread the word by asking friends and family to do the same.

Thank you for your support!

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Minnesota You're the Cure Advocacy Summit - 2015

Last month we held the 2nd Annual You're the Cure Advocacy Summit in Minnesota for our insider advocates!

Our insiders started the day introducing themselves and painting their favorite fruit or vegetable.

 

 

 

The theme of the summit this year was "INSPIRED." Throughout the day advocates told us how they are inspired through the training and projects provided.

One of the new things brough to this year's summit was THE LEGISLATIVE GAMES, where advocates split into two teams and set up how the legislative process is run on game boards. At the end of the game, Annie threw in a wild card at them, one was what happens if your bill doesn't get signed by the Governor? Adovcates then had to show more ways that they reach the Governor and get them to sign, run a social media campaign, get petition cards signed, etc.

See more pictures from this year's summit HERE

Want to be a YTC Insider and be at next year’s summit? Start taking action at www.yourethecure.org and move up in ranks!

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