Hello everyone! My name is Ann Mansfield and I am one of Co-Conveners for the NE Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative. I am pleased to be here today with Haleisa Johnson, FFI Community Health WG Leader and Foundation Director for Central Community Hospital in Elkader and Flannery Cerbin, FFI Communications Liaison. As you may know, our initiative is one of 9 Food & Fitness collaboratives funded by the W.K .Kellogg Foundation – to create healthier communities where children and their families have access to local healthy food and safe places to be physically active and play. The NE Iowa FFI is the only rural model. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to share with you the work that has been happening with the NE Iowa Food and Fitness Initiative. Our analogy for the presentation today is like a school sports team… “ You never know what you’re going to get!” We will plan to collaboratively present for about 35-40 minutes and leave ample time for questions. We are eager to learn and share with everyone in the room. (Haleisa and I will move pretty quickly as we provide an overview of nearly 5 years of work – 2.5 years planning and this year’s community action plan with Flannery giving you a deeper look into our work in 20 school districts in NE Iowa. At any time during the conference or after, we are happy to explain more about our planning process.)
Where to start…. Game Plan for Community-wide Change… Approach and focus
Planning, Recruiting, Building Commitment – Shared Vision Overview – Rural Model Everyone has different skills. There’s a fit for everyone from the star player, to the managers, to the cheerleaders The goal is to create a experience to sustain interest long term ( Shared Vision, People will support what they help create) Creating the Plays/Teaching the Skills Community Action Plan Learning by experience (Learning community), continually evolving ( Adapting organization) Game Time School Wellness Outreach
I’d like to begin with a little background 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 105,000 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 have been working on Food and Fitness in NE Iowa for four and a half years, including two years of initiating the work and the second year of implementation, which we are just completing.
Assumptions for our approach… Articulate a compelling purpose, shared core values, and a clear picture of the future Citizen engagement is the centerpiece of our work, especially youth engagement. Build on the community assets, values, strengths, and what is going well in communities People will support what they help create
Recruitment (stakeholders), Planning, Creating shared vision and commitment… Building our Skills for the Season! Approach… building our capacity… creating communities of learning How?… We will review the organizational learning and systems thinking approach that NE Iowa Food and Fitness utilized Coaches: W.K.Kellogg – funded process and approach
The focus of the WKKF Food & Fitness Initiative is a community-driven process focused on policy and system change to impact the food and fitness environments where we live, learn, work & play. Early in our planning, we were introduced by WKKF to organizational learning, systems thinking, and Daniel H. Kim’s Organizing for Learning framework and tools. This framework and Technical Assistance provided by WKKF -- has guided us to approach this grass-roots planning and implementation effort from a System’s Thinking perspective. Early in this journey… we learned about the presence of system causal loops in organizations, communities, in every system we interact with on a daily basis. One of the first causal loops we studied was this model – represented in this slide -- the Core Theory of Success -- When we were introduced to the Core Theory of Success -- which describes the importance of Quality Relationships and it’s impact on Quality Collective Thinking, we knew that organizational learning – and this particular model focused on creating and investing in Quality Relationships was a fit for NE Iowa! This model is quite simple and yet profound and fundamental -- As Quality Relationships (mutual trust, effective communication & sharing of information) rise – the Quality of Collective Thinking (more diverse view points shared & considered, more quality ideas emerge) increases –and that causes an increase in the Quality of Actions and Results. Achieving high-quality results has a positive effect on the Quality of Relationships, creating a reinforcing Engine of Success. This model became the foundation for our work and as we invested in creating a Learning Organization for the NE Iowa Food & Fitness Initiative, we actually created our own Core Theory for Success. By articulating the Core Theory of Success for our work, we are more likely to pay attention to both the short-term and long-term consequences of our actions. (I am happy to share the diagram of our detailed theory of success with any of you who might be interested after this presentation.)
Recruitment… Community Stakeholders… Core partners… strategic partners… ongoing partners 6 rural counties Food system Schools Active living – walkable/bikeable communities Health care – hospitals, public health, clinics, Youth Community – grass-roots leaders Local, regional, state decision-makers Everyone has different skills. There’s a fit for everyone from the star player, to the managers, to the cheerleaders The goal is to create a compelling sense of purpose and vision
Framework for Planning; Hierarchy of Choices (Daniel Kim – Foresight as the Central Ethic of Leadership) With a working knowledge of the Core Theory of Success and the importance of investing in relationships across our 6 counties, we created a organizational structure for planning that represented stakeholder from all 6 counties. We facilitated meetings and discussions to invest and promote the Quality of Relationships from across the region within the context of a NE Iowa Food & Fitness Initiative Regional Leadership Team, while also accomplishing work together. About 6 months into our planning, we facilitated a 2-day retreat with our FFI Regional Leadership Team where we utilized this Organizational Learning Framework for Planning – Heirarchy of Choices. In this retreat, approximately 60 people – representing a very diverse group of stakeholders (ISU Extension, Public Health, Park & Rec, DNR, city & county officials, Schools, youth, Luther College…) determined our CORE VALUES (Identity - Who are we?), FUNDAMENTAL CHOICE (Purpose - Why do we exist?), and our PRIMARY CHOICE (Vision – What do we do we want to create?) IDENTITY - PURPOSE – VISION – STRATEGY – TACTICS – ACTIVITIES = CAP/Community Action Plan Creation of a regional Shared Vision – another cornerstone of the FFI planning .
What distinguishes this approach to systems change from many others is that it is an aspirational approach to planning. The focus is on creating a preferred future, in contrast to solving problems. The Creative Tension Model is another cornerstone framework for our work. (Daniel H. Kim and Diane Cory – adapted from Robert Fritz, 1989, The Path of Least Resistance The NE Iowa FFI embraced the concept of …”Vision can be a powerful force for action when it is clearly articulated and if there is genuine desire to bring it into reality”…(Daniel H. Kim Organizing for Learning – Strategies for Knowledge Creation and Enduring Change). As described a few minutes ago …We engaged almost 60 Stakeholders in creating the Vision; we then vetted it over the next several months in many discussions with all of the aligned work groups, county teams, and other stakeholders through out the region. We were seeking “buy-in”…commitment to a Shared Vision for the NE Iowa FFI. So now what ? Designing a process for involving people in sharing a vision is only one part of the formula for success. Visioning also requires a commitment to articulating current reality with clarity and honesty – talking about daily events as they really are, not as we wish them to be. (Daniel H. Kim – Organizing for Learning) Current Reality – Defined as the Data, Assessments, Events observed, Interviews, etc. Premise of this CTM is that the gap between current reality and our vision creates STRUCTURAL TENSION (we want to RESOLVE this tension!)… and we often approach the GAP between where we are right now and where we’d like to be with a Problem-Solving approach or REACTIVE ORIENTATION. The CTM introduces the shift in our approach to resolving this tension in a Creative way – GENERATIVE ORIENTATION – focusing our efforts and investment on what we want to create instead of what we do NOT want. Traditionally as problem solvers, we propose elaborate schemes to define the problem, generate alternative solutions, and put the best solution into practice. If this process is successful, you might eliminate the problem. Then what you have is the absence of the problem you are solving. But what you do not have is the presence of a result you want to create. Major point of this model – Our SHARED VISION BECOMES THE FOCUS - GENERATIVE ORIENTATION – changes the conversation – the dynamics, the POSSIBILITIES – more likely to address things from a SYSTEMS PERSPECTIVE
Compelling purpose…shared Vision The working vision of the NE Iowa FFI: NE Iowa is a unique place where all residents and guests experience, celebrate and promote healthy locally grown food with abundant opportunities for physical activity and play EVERY DAY. Healthier people make stronger families and vibrant communities.
Planning… orienting ourselves toward the Vision… need to understand current reality … Engaged stakeholders from across the region to collect data and assess the current reality; Walkable/Bikeable Community Mapping Inventory of NE Iowa Built Environment – 6 counties School Use Survey NE Iowa 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 All of our Assessments are posted on FFI Website; www.iowafoodandfitness.org/site/data.html
Review of current reality…. Community members, Experts, Young people engaged in assessing current reality; SRTS workshop – reviewing baseline mapping in communities
(Quick review of these—don’t need in-depth stories. Point of this list will be to show EXAMPLES of the varied ways in which current reality was assessed.)
Community Action Plan Learning by experience – continually evolving
Hierarchy of Choices Planning Framework Vision developed … Current Reality (Assessments) determined… NOW – Need to determine the HOW? Or STRATEGIES to reaching the Vision. Again, underlying basic assumption throughout planning: People will support what they help create
Haleisa: NE Iowa FFI – Community Action Plan 3 Strategies Strategy A Ensure that school district policies & practices support healthy living of children, families and community members. Strategy B Ensure that local, health-promoting food is available and affordable in all communities, neighborhoods and institutions. Strategy C Ensure that communities have a built environment that supports abundant opportunities for physical activity, play and active transportation.
Community Action Plan: Defined for Each Strategy…. Policy and System Change Targets Tactics – Yr 1 – 3 Activities to support impact on Policy Target and support Tactics Strategy A: School Enviroments: Ensure that school district policies & practices support healthy living of children, families and community members. Policy and System Change Targets: Procurement policy allows for geographical preference of local foods in schools Identify and interpret existing policies that align and support geographic preference of local foods in schools Evidence of school wellness policy incorporated in School Improvement Plan
Strategy A: - Continued Tactics : Support a regional learning community that nurtures quality relationships, leads to policy successes, and advances the Food and Fitness Initiative vision. Encourage and support school districts to develop an active school wellness committee to align with the Food & Fitness Initiative. Incorporate healthy local foods into school food programs while teaching people about nutrition and the local food system. Regionally, communicate and support comprehensive state and federal school food and beverage policy implementation to ensure school food includes healthy, especially local choices. Build demand and support a variety of physical activity options before, during and after school time.
Strategy A : School Environments Activities to support system, policy and environmental changes… (Examples…)
Cross age teaching; High School youth teaching 2 nd graders about local tomatoes…
Classroom education – Cross age teaching – 2 nd graders learning about local cheese…
School gardens – 4 th graders working with Farm to School Garden Coordinator to plant a garden
Farm to school Gardens – High school youth harvesting from their garden
Strategy B: Food System (Ensure that local, health-promoting food is available and affordable in all communities, neighborhoods and institutions.) Policy and System Change Targets: Invest in new and existing producers who produce food for local food systems Development/maintenance of storage/processing capabilities for local food
Strategy B: Food system Tactics: Regional food system learning community (internal and external) Create opportunities for value chain partners to engage in food system planning Create opportunities for new & existing producers to engage in local food system Support and facilitate local food value chain development Increase sale and consumption of local food
Strategy B: Food System Activities to support system and policy changes (Examples…)
Strategy B: Food Systems Activities to support system and policy change – Target (2 of 2) (Examples…)
5 th Season Workshop – engaging school food service and building capacity to incorporate local food
5 th Season workshop – making Ratatouille from school garden and locally procured food
Strategy C: Active Living – Safe Routes to School (Ensure that communities have a built environment that supports abundant opportunities for physical activity, play and active transportation.) Policy and System Change Target: Develop readiness for policy, system and infrastructure changes to support walking and bicycling to and from schools in rural communities.
Strategy C: Active Living – Safe Routes to School Tactics: Support a regional active living learning community Encourage and support school districts to develop an active school wellness committee to align with the Food & Fitness Initiative Foster relationships between schools and communities around opportunities to support school wellness committees and active transportation to and from school Regionally, promote youth and family participation in physical activity and play every day
Strategy C: Active Living – Safe Routes to School Activities to support systems and policy change: (Examples…)
Strategy C: Active Living – Safe Routes to School Activities to support systems and policy change ** Active living in Schools (Examples)
Strategy C: Active Living Activities to support systems and policy change ** Families, pre-schools and young children (Examples…)
Focus on System and Policy Change ; This is the matrix we used to develop Policy Targets in each of the Strategy – Tactic areas” This is an example of the collaborative work completed for all of our Policy and Systems change targets… This is Policy Target of Active Living – Walkable-Bikeable Communities (REVIEW questions… WHAT IS THE CHANGE? WHAT ARE THE LOCAL/STATE/FEDERAL QUESTOIONS? WHO ARE THE PLAYERS? WHAT WILL SUCCESS LOOK LIKE? HOW WILL WE MEASURE THE IMPACT? WHAT ARE THE ACTIVITIES?)
Examples… School Wellness Action Plan – incorporated activities to increase physical activity before, during and after school Increased number of schools – participating in , reviewing mapping, etc. IDOT-SRTS Non-infrastructure grant for regional rural model Active Living - SRTS workshops in 2010-2011 Regional awareness and promotion – Bicycle Rodeos, Physical activity promotional events Walking School Bus interest Increased average number of kids walking to and from school
October 2010 International Walk to School Day – Ossian (S. Winn SRTS pilot)
Fall 2010 Walking School Bus – Decorah – neighborhood parents as champions
SRTS – 5 Es – Education, Encouragement, Engineering, Enforcement, Evaluation and ** ENGAGEMENT Bicycle Rodeo in Riceville, IA 140 students participated – coordinated by FFI Youth and their coach
October – Walk to School Day - This concludes my overview of the FFI Community Action Plan and highlights of early successes in Yr. 1 of Implementation of the FFI Community Action Plan. Annually in our planning --as a collaborative – we reflect on the year and determine where things went well, where there is room for improvement, where is our greatest leverage. In the summer of 2010, we saw the need to deepen the local commitment for changing school environments for greater access to healthy local food and physical activity opportunities. Schools were receptive but not ready to embrace significant system and policy change. In preparation for Yr. 2 of our Community Action Plan, the FFI shifted resources (time, people, funds) to focus on building capacity for school wellness. I’d like to introduce Flannery Cerbin; FFI Communications Liaison – who will share the story of the 2010-2011 FFI school wellness investment
Flannery: Team FFI School Outreach Game Plan Invest in School Wellness Funders: In addition to Kellogg Funding for the Community Action Plan, we received the December 2010 Wellmark Healthy Communities Grant to provide funds to support this plan with a regional School Wellness position. This was a key factor in creating FFI school outreach. I’d like to take this opportunity to express our appreciation for this investment in our region. Goal Integrate FFI School Outreach: Farm to School, Safe Routes to School, Youth Engagement
FFI School Outreach Team Core Partner – Luther College Environmental Studies Mission – Center for Sustainable Communities – Local Food and Wellness Coordinator – Emily Neal – Coordinator of School Outreach for Environmental Ed, (Teacher Inservices, Discovery Camps) Resources Contacts – How this evolved Service Members in FFI since fall 2009 1 st year – 2 AmeriCorps (pilots in schools) 2 nd year – 3 AmeriCorps (all schools eligible for participation) 3 rd year (2011-2012 School Year) – 2 FoodCorps & 3 AmeriCorps Support Luther Faculty/staff– Jon Jensen, Director of Environmental Studies, Maren Stumme-Diers, Sustainable Foods Coordinator FFI Work Group Leaders – Food System Active Living Youth Community Health Communications- Messaging Work Build capacity and commitment in local school wellness teams Farm to school Safe Routes to school Youth Engagement
Notes: Review items on screen… and then give examples of Activities; Food Service Workshops, Teacher Wellness Workshops, Cross-Age Teaching, Walking school bus, Mini-grants for wellness teams to use, etc. Copies of the FFI School Wellness Action Plan available as handouts; we have some with us and will be happy to send it to you electronically. Overview: The School Wellness Action Plan is designed as a “catalog” for schools to select based on their readiness Aligns with federal and state mandates FFI provides financial incentives to support engagement and activities Youth leaders integrated and supported as change agents on the wellness team and in the schools 16 of 20 school districts in 6 counties submitted a School Wellness Action plan and requested support from a FFI Resource Contact
(Video – Highlights of FFI – 2010-2011) Intro – the school sports analogy - We deal with the bruises and cuts – sometime we call a timeout, sometimes we’re surprised by the underdog who makes and incredible play. No matter what, we give each other high-fives.
Communications Background Fall 2010 Values – Quality Relationships, Healthy choices, Local Focus, Strong Community Work on Target Markets Target Markets – who are those audiences we need to influence to make system and policy change? Materials: Fact sheets, brochure, etc. ** Wellmark - Healthy Communities Grant – provided support for a position to coordinate a regional messaging campaign. Key support in implementing this effort; we are grateful for this investment! Spring/Summer 2011 – Planning for messaging campaign Fall 2011 – Soft Launch – Parents of K-3 children, 3 schools, planned Activity examples
FFI Regional Messaging Tagline and Steps to success Goal: Influence parents to become involved Describe efforts so far Messaging plan Launch schools Community Forums (?)
Insert the FFI organizational structure Ann: summary and open up to questions/dialogue Where did we start? How did we get here? WKKF – focus is vulnerable children – vehicle is engagement Relationships, readiness, people supporting what they help create, community assets, What has made this effort a success? Organizational learning , Systems thinking (CTM, CTS, Appreciative Inquiry, power of conversation – World Café), Learning communities Stable steering group for last 4 years – representing the region and all Work Groups Core Partners – willingness to work to embed this effort for sustainability Learning how to leverage Relationships and Funding (selective re a “fit”) (handout – Partnerships) Lessons Learned The difference between collaboration vs. cooperation Slower is faster Guiding Principles: Interdependence Self-determination – Autonomy for individuals, organizations Create “enough order” to give context and support and connection (Friday meetings) Flexibility & adaptability Transparency at an effective level Aligned but not restrictive Collaborative planning Stewardship of overall resources on behalf of the whole Grassroots membership meets support Integration in our work/the way we work: rules of engagement : Try on It’s OK to disagree It’s not OK to blame, shame, or attack ourselves or others Practice self-focus Notice both the process and the content Practice “both/and” thinking Be aware of both the intent and impact of your actions Confidentiality Focus on PROCESSES to build capacity… trust it… be patient with it Discovery – of how much CAN be accomplished without a lot of $$...”It’s not really about the money”… people and organizations need to find that out on their own. This is not a program or project… it is a journey
Investing in the health of NE Iowa children and their families Ann Mansfield Co-Convener & Project Coordinator Haleisa Johnson Community Health Work Group, Central Community Hospital Flannery Cerbin Communications Liaison
Activities to support systems and policy change (cont):
Families, pre-schools and young children:
Building on momentum to do more to get young kids outside.
Engage several organizations that work with families and vulnerable kids including: HAWC, NE IA Community Action, Helping Services, DNR, and county conservation boards.
Focus this work on vulnerable children and their families; what can be done to get more of these children playing outside?
Strategy C: Ensure that communities have a built environment that supports abundant opportunities for physical activity and play. Physical Activity and Built Environment Tactic: Regionally increase youth and family participation opportunities, programming, and system/plans for physical activity and active play every day. Policy Target #4: Development/maintenance of infrastructure for walking and bicycling to and from schools in rural communities. What is the Change? Local Questions Potential Key Players Local State Questions Potential Key Players State Federal Questions Potential Key Players Walking and bicycling infrastructure exits in communities for children and adults to use for local transportation How many children walk or bike to and from school? How many adults use walking or biking for local transportation? What is the infrastructure that currently exists for walking and biking? What is needed to improve the infrastructure for walking and biking?
School board members
Wellness Policy Team
County/City Dept. of Health, Planning, Public Safety, Transportation
Biking and Trail groups
Are there state policies regarding children getting to and from school as it relates to walking and biking? If yes, what are they? What are the state opportunities for funding for development and maintenance of walking and bicycling infrastructure?
Iowa Dept. of Education, Iowa Dept. Public Health, Public Safety, Transportation
Iowa State Board of Education
Iowa Healthy Kids Task Force
Iowa Partners for Healthy Kids
State Associations for Physical Education/Activity, Sports, Health, PTA, Biking, Public Safety
What policies in the Transportation Bill relate to infrastructure for walking and bicycling? What are the federal opportunities for funding for development and maintenance of walking and bicycling infrastructure? US Departments of Education, Transportation, Public Safety Nat’l Conference State Legislatures House and Senate Committees on Education and Transportation Staff of Senators Harkin and Grassley; Representative Braley and Rep. Latham Nat’l health, Public Safety and Physical Activity Groups What might success look like? Increased number of youth walking or biking to school. How might we measure the impact? Increased number of youth reporting walking & # bikes ridden to school on Fall and Spring dates.
What Activities will help us activate our Tactic, leading to policy and system change?
Safety Routes to School mini-grants in 6 target schools.