Hi! My name is Scot Michelson and I am the Active Living Leader for the NE Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share with you the work that has been happening with the NE Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative – Active Living.
Let me tell you a little bit about our region and our work. The NE Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative encompasses six rural counties in the northeast corner of Iowa. This area has just under 100,000 people in small communities spread over a rural geographic area almost the size of Connecticut. These six counties are thinly populated, with 26 persons per square mile. We have one town with 8,000 people and only one other town has more than 5,000 people. The majority of our residents are dispersed across the landscapes on farms and acreages. Our region is made up of the working poor. Many are running farming operations in addition to their factory or ‘town’ jobs. Our communities are small and close-knit with schools serving as a primary connector or “hub” for many activities and functions.
We focused our discussion around how we could build on our region’s assets to create healthier people, healthier communities and healthier economies. Hundreds of people participated in these discussions and identified our region’s strengths. Three of our region’s greatest strength’s were 1) our Youth, 2) our Schools; and 3) our region’s ability to grow healthy food. Over 1000 people and over 150 organizations created a common vision for Northeast Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative ……. that every day all people in NE Iowa have access to healthy, locally grown foods and abundant opportunities for physical activity and play.
Here is the map of our 6 county region with the 20 school districts outlined. We have been able to engage 16 of the 20 schools in our region in the NE Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative. All 16 of these schools have youth teams. 12 of the 16 schools are pilots; 6 Farm to School and 6 Safe Routes to School. There is 1 Farm to School and 1 Safe Routes to School pilot in each county. The pilots were selected based on the following criteria: Free & Reduced Lunch rate in the District Presence of a Food & Fitness Youth team Readiness for pilot commitment and work Representative of our region; larger schools with multiple buildings & campuses and small one-campus k-12 settings
Planning… engaging stakeholders from across the region to collect data and asses the current reality; Walkable/Bikeable Community Mapping Inventory of NE Iowa Built Environment School Use Survey NE Iowa Regional Safe Routes to School Project Community Assessments by Luther College Students
Example – Sidewalk Mapping and Inventory assessments
New Playground – Summer 2009
NE Iowa FFI – Community Action Plan 3 Strategies School Local Food Active Living
Bicycle Rodeo in Riceville, IA – May 2009 140 students participated – coordinated by FFI Youth and their coach
Mark Fenton Visit to NE Iowa – Oct. 7 & 8, 2009 Tour of region – 5-6 school communities Public presentation SRTS Workshop Concepts in his presentation… Free-range youth: Children allowed to explore/roam the outdoors. The ability of youth to be free-range is important for their social, mental and physical development and well-being. Creating safer world for free-range youth: The battle is between free-range youth and suburban sprawl, infrastructure, and unsafe built environments. We win the occasional battle, but are losing the war! The twin epidemics: The obesity epidemic should be called the twin epidemics of physical inactivity and poor nutrition . Eating a good diet and being physical active are independent risk factors of body weight. Independent of body weight these two things will help you live a healthier life. Physical activity (minimum) recommendations: Adults: 150 minutes/week (only 25% of adults achieve this minimum) Kids: 300 minutes/week Combining exercise with good nutrition will help individuals achieve their best genetic outcome for their health. Overcoming “stickiness”: Goal: environmental changes to create long-term behavior changes. Poor nutrition element is intuitive; provide healthier snacks, change vending machines, etc. Decreasing physical inactivity is more complex; Create a community in which it’s safe and reasonable within certain radii to walk, to bike, to use public transportation, and lastly to use a car. A checklist for creating stickier communities (questions to ask): 1. Are there a variety of different destinations to live, work, shop and play? Note: good land use planning will make it easier for people to walk/bike for functional trips not just for recreation. 2. Are there networks such as sidewalks and bike lanes that provide good connectivity between points? Are they woven into fabric of the community? 3. Are the destinations safe and inviting? 4. Is it safe for people of all ages and abilities, in other words, is there universal access? Three P’s for system change: Programs: Incentive programs can stimulate community members to “get active.” Projects: Create infrastructure. Policies: Work to change rules so that that infrastructure is constructed well. Make sure that support involves school administrators, parents and local law enforcement Recommendations for NE Iowa: 1. Adopt a Safe Routes to School program http://www. saferoutesinfo .org 2. Create a regional trail system making sure to address issues regarding connectivity. 3. Create a regional design of “complete streets” http://www. completestreets .org The purpose of these efforts: Sticker designs create safer communities so that youth can be free-range. This will also help: Combat the twin epidemics Reduce pedestrian traffic-related causalities Create safer streets Improve air-quality Improve downtowns aesthetics Decrease dependency on foreign oil
October 7, 2009 National “Walk to School” Day
Shared Bike System – college campus
FFI Website – SRTS pilots Information: Overview of National SRTS Workshops Resources Expectations
February 2010 Active Living – Safe Routes to School Workshop Active Living – SRTS Workshop Agenda * Kathy Ridnour, Iowa DOT - SRTS Coordinator * Molly Gable Iowa Bicycle Coalition Overview of the 5 E’s workshop for SRTS planning Greg Welk ISUE Active Living Programming VERB Walking School Bus Mileage Club Iowa Walk to School Chris Seeger ISUE Community Mapping/ Web Resources * Asset Mapping * SRTS Route Tools * Web Support Tools * Trail Maps Tim Lane IDPH & Chris Albrecht CTRE Transportation Specialist IDPH Healthy Communities
Active Living – SRTS pilot work so far… progress and challenges Workshops – well received by school teams and youth SRTS Coordinator – finding a part time coordinator to help with communication – to be the “glue’ School Readiness and Capacity – challenging… Economic downturn – Staff/faculty & budget reductions Staff & faculty time Non-active School Wellness Committees – FOCUS OF FFI WORK GOING FORWARD Finding community champions – to commit to a team Considering changing name of pilots to “Walkable-Bikeable Communities”
Investing in the future of Allamakee, Chickasaw Clayton, Fayette, Howard & Winneshiek Counties Scot Michelson Active Living Work Group Co-leader Iowa Department of Natural Resources
Planning Phase of FFI – Active Living www.iowafoodandfitness.org
Assessments of the Built Environment Walkable/Bikable Community Mapping (2008) Elkader: front page , back page Fayette: front page , back page Cresco: front page , back page Calmar: front page , back page Inventory of NE Iowa Built Environment (2008 ). See the Active Living Tab. Tool: Inventory Sheet Tool: Inventory Sheet Instructions School Use Survery (2008) Tool: Survey Questions NE IA Regional Safe Routes to School Project Children's Bill of Rights Survey Results (2008) Park Survey in Winneshiek County (2008) Walkability of Trails in Decorah (2008)
Community Assessments by Luther College Students (2007) Walkability of Allamakee County Barrier Mapping in Elkader Survey of Activity Levels of Children at Recess Analysis of consumer household survey to study effects of locally grown foods Relationship of walking and happiness
Community Assessments by Luther College Students (2008) An Analysis of the Benefits of a Community Wellness Center Correlations Between Positive Affect & Fruit/Vegetable Intake on the Luther College Campus Gender Differences in Response to Preventative Health Care Self Reported Health Consciousness Levels: Organic vs. Non-Organic Shoppers Park Survey in Winneshiek County, Iowa Studying the Health Behaviors of Decorah Students with an Emphasis on Walking and Biking to School Saving School Lunch: Utilizing Healthier Options to Combat Obesity Initiative for a Healthy Lifestyle through Food: "Think Global, Eat Local" Determining Efficacy of Sidewalks and Trails for Employees to Walk to Work Walkability of Trails in Decorah Assessment of Winter Recreational Opportunities & Facilities in Decorah, Iowa