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2014 Let's Go Local! Produce Showcase

LGL 2014

On October 24, the San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative's Farm to School Taskforce celebrated Food Day by hosting the second annual Let's Go Local! Produce Showcase for local institutional buyers, growers and distributors of fruits and vegetables. The event, which took place at the Ranch (441 Saxony Road, in Encinitas), drew nearly 40 local growers and eight distributors, as well as a number of critical partner agencies like the San Diego County Farm Bureau, UC San Diego Center for Community Health, County of San Diego, and hundreds of institutional produce buyers.

The Produce Showcase was generously hosted by the Leichtag Foundation, a Jewish non-profit foundation that is transforming that site, the former location of the Ecke Ranch (poinsettia growing capital of the world), into a hub for sustainable agriculture and Jewish community. The purpose of the Produce Showcase is to open up a new, viable market for local growers, and to direct more fresh, local produce toward institutional food procurement. This corresponds with Leichtag's focus on nurturing a strong, healthy regional food system that serves all San Diegans.

San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts spoke about the importance of the event to revitalizing our community's health and economy and praised this year's event organizers (who included staff from Community Health Improvement Partners, the OC Food Access Coalition, and a number of engaged participants) for nearly tripling the size of the event from last year. JuliAnna Arnett, the lead organizer, spoke about the importance of the Produce Showcase for improving San Diego County's institutional food offerings, and Christina Hall, of the Orange County Food Access Coalition, emphasized the event's significance to the broader Southern Californian food system. Jim Farley, Leichtag Foundation's president and CEO, welcomed participants to the Ranch and voiced hopes that one day the Produce Showcase might be made permanent in the form of a farmers' market at the Ranch.

The real test of the Produce Showcase's success starts now. It will be measured by how many buyers pick up the phone and call local growers to ask for local produce, or express interest in purchasing local when renegotiating contracts with distributors. In the days following the showcase, we are already hearing stories of success. An Orange County farm identified its first-ever school district customers. A produce distributor reconnected with a local mushroom grower after nine years of no contact and plans to once again purchase their product. A local restaurant left the event with plans to buy from three local farms, including an egg producer and a lettuce grower. A local school district scheduled meetings with multiple farms and has introduced the idea of a "cowpool", a group purchase of cut and wrapped locally-raised, grassfed beef, to a district principal and teachers. We hope to hear more of these stories in the following months and ensure that everyone in San Diego County has access to fresh, local produce, particularly our schools and hospitals, where a significant number of meals are served. We hope to see you at next year's Produce Showcase!

 

Elected Officials’ Breakfast: A Discussion about Safe Routes to School

Fenton pic

On September 19, the San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative's Government Domain hosted an educational and interactive forum that brought together community members, planners, government officials, and school board members to discuss safe routes to school. The event featured Mark Fenton, a nationally recognized public health, transportation, and planning consultant, as the event's keynote speaker, and was followed by a panel discussion with local experts including Graham Mitchell with the City of Lemon Grove, Michelle Lieberman with Safe Routes to School National Partnership, and Brian Gaze with Circulate San Diego.

Fenton began the event by asking the audience to close their eyes and think back to their earliest memories of being physically active. The room burst into commotion as participants fondly shared their childhood memories such as playing with children of all ages and staying outside until the street lights went on, which meant it was time to go home for dinner. When Fenton asked how many participants thought it was good that most kids were no longer free to explore outdoors, not a single person raised their hand. The stage was now set to discuss complete streets, active transportation, and safe routes to school.

Fenton provided an overview of how a number cities and neighborhoods throughout the country were developed during a time of suburban sprawl; many of these areas lack sidewalks and have an excess of parking lots. He then discussed how current trends show that younger generations prefer to live in walkable communities, and how even builders and the Realtor's Association are taking note. If cities plan to be attractive and sustainable, it will be necessary for them to adopt complete street designs that consider drivers and pedestrians of various ages and abilities, and active transportation, which includes human-powered modes of transport such as biking and walking.

During the panel discussion, Mitchell shared how the city and school district are working together in Lemon Grove to strengthen their joint use agreement, which allows district owned land to be open to the community, when not in use by the school. The other panelists provided resources, as well as local and national examples of policies cities and school districts are enacting to encourage active living and safe routes to school. The panel was followed by a lively question and answer session, during which audience members were able to explore their own unique challenges and walk away with resources to improve their community.

World Breastfeeding Week August 1-7

World Breastfeeding

The first week in August each year, advocates from over 175 countries come together in celebration of World Breastfeeding Week (WBW) to "promote, protect, and support breastfeeding." WBW first began 22 years ago and although breastfeeding rates are increasing around the world, there is still room for improvement. Based on the Center for Disease Control's (CDC)  2013 Breastfeeding Report Card, California is one of the top three states with the highest rates of mothers who initiate breastfeeding, at 91.6%. However, as the months progress, the rates decrease to 71.3% at six months and 45.3% at 12 months. The CDC has concluded that a child's risk for obesity decreases each month he or she is breastfed; children who are breastfed for nine months have a 30% decreased risk.

Since breastfeeding can be challenging, maintaining high breastfeeding rates can only be accomplished by a collaborative multipronged approach. Women need support and encouragement from their obstetricians, hospitals, pediatricians, families, friends, communities, local businesses, and workplaces. The San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative promotes breastfeeding as the healthiest first food for children and encourages all partners to support breastfeeding through policy and environmental changes. In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, here are some ways communities can  support breastfeeding:

  • Hospitals can join Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas, and University of California San Diego Medical Center in receiving a "Baby-Friendly" designation through the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund. Baby Friendly Hospitals provide support for exclusive breastfeeding, train staff on supporting breastfeeding, and refuse to provide formula samples or coupons.
  • Businesses can display "Breastfeeding Welcomed Here" stickers on windows and doors and train employees on their breastfeeding policies.
  • Employers can update lactation accommodation policies to include model language and practices.
  • Early childcare providers can accept and properly store expressed breast milk and coordinate children's feeding schedules with the mother's schedule.
  • The media can promote benefits of breastfeeding to counteract infant formula marketing and advertisements.
  • Communities can provide clean, comfortable places for mothers to breastfeed.
  • Policymakers can increase funding for high qualify research on breastfeeding.

Outlining the Next Four Years: Updating the Call to Action, San Diego County Childhood Obesity Action Plan

2010 Action Plan Cover photo

It's Thursday afternoon, and the San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative's (COI) Action Plan Advisory Committee is meeting in CHIP's small conference room, working strategically to update the Call to Action, San Diego County Childhood Obesity Action Plan (Action Plan). Eleven partners representing HHSA, UC San Diego Center for Community Health, California Project LEAN, American Red Cross WIC, and Community Health Improvement Partners (CHIP) have been meeting monthly since May to revise the Action Plan.

The first Action Plan was developed in 2006 to raise awareness of childhood obesity and to provide recommended strategies for creating healthier communities. The document was revised in 2010 and will continue to be updated every four to five years. This year we are excited about the new format, which includes selection criteria for strategies; information on collective impact; a description of the COI accountability plan; and a glossary of terms. Another update that we are eager to share is the new Action Plan template, which will more clearly define how community members can impact childhood obesity through policies, systems, and environmental changes.

Once completed, the Action Plan will be available in April 2015, and will be used by domain work groups in selecting domain strategies and developing domain workplans. The Action Plan will be available in both English and Spanish, and will also be available on our website at http://www.ourcommunityourkids.org/.

 

Katie Judd: Empowering residents to be agents of change

Katie Judd

 

From a young age, Katie Judd lived an active lifestyle. She was born and raised in Bonita, and recalls walking to school and horseback riding as a child. She attended college at Portland State on a volleyball scholarship, but didn't see herself being an athlete for life. She pictured herself completing a degree in health sciences and working at a nonprofit, but those plans unexpectedly changed.

What happened that turned her on to public health? Katie completed an internship with the County of San Diego's Aging and Independence Services (AIS), and was introduced to the field of public health. As a result, Katie transferred to Chico State where she finished her degree, but she didn't want to stop there. She attended graduate school at National University where she focused her studies on public administration. She was intrigued by her classes on the topics of built environment, planning, and land use.

How did she transition from AIS to working with children? Katie began working in the field at AIS San Diego County and then transitioned to become a Community Health Promotion Specialist in the East Region. She co-chaired the Coalition on Children & Weight San Diego (CCWSD) and became involved as the COI's Community Domain co-chair after the merger. Katie was fascinated by the seven domains, and continues her involvement because she recognizes that the COI is a growing force in the San Diego community.

Her favorite COI domain project is the policy, systems, environmental change (PSE)/community engagement mapping project, which will help streamline efforts around community advocacy and garner more interest in these projects. The maps help identify activities happening at the neighborhood level in which community members are actively engaged to create healthier community environments.

Katie is currently the Health Promotion Specialist for the County of San Diego's Health and Human Services Agency in East Region and says the best part of her job is empowering community residents to be their own advocates and supporting the change they want to see in the neighborhoods.

When Katie isn't working with residents to improve their neighborhoods, she enjoys hiking, and frequents Torrey Pines on the weekend, because "there's nothing like being able to see the ocean and mountains with snow topped peaks from one lookout point." When she's not out at beach or spending time with her family in San Diego County, she enjoys antique shopping, garage sales, and home decorating.

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