Health Forward recently hosted the 2011 Healthy Lifestyles Pre-Proposal Conference, featuring speakers with expertise in food systems and built environment. Interest in healthy eating and living has grown substantially, and the event provided 130 community participants an excellent opportunity to convene and hear best practices, while learning about Health Forward’s 2011 Healthy Lifestyles Request for Proposals process.
The speakers all provided real world examples of what’s working in different contexts, including rural, suburban and urban communities. Speakers included:
- Food justice advocate Anupama Joshi, Co-Director of the National Farm to School Program, and author of the new book ‘Food Justice,’ a concept that seeks to ensure the benefits and risks of all aspects of food production, distribution and access are shared fairly.
- Larry Wolgast from the Topeka, Kansas City Council and sponsor of the Topeka Complete Streets Resolution, which created a city planning framework that incorporates the needs of all roadway users including drivers, public transit riders, cyclists, pedestrians, and people with disabilities.
- Cara Borneman and Larry Martin, city planners from the city of Ozark, Missouri, where they helped implement a sustainable smart growth plan that attracted external funding for several community projects and brought the community closer together.
The national obesity epidemic is one issue that garnered particular attention. Many different sectors including city planning, public works, parks and recreation, and economic development departments are recognizing that they can play a role in the crisis, and are starting to see where they can make a difference.
As the interest in healthy lifestyles continues to grow, it will be important to incorporate the entire community, seeking diversity in thought and approach, while working alongside the underserved and the most vulnerable.