Federal grant sets the stage for healthier living in Minneapolis
A two-year federal grant to battle obesity and other chronic diseases through prevention is coming to an end in June, but the effects of the grant will help people in Minneapolis live healthier lives for years to come. Communities Putting Prevention to Work was a large-scale, two-year, federally funded program designed to increase physical activity and improve nutrition by making healthy options available and affordable in communities, at school and at work. Thanks to the grant funding, Minneapolis residents now have more options for healthy living, including:
Better access to nutritious foods.
People using federal food assistance may now use their Electronic Benefit Transfer cards at almost all of the major Minneapolis farmers markets. Along with a $5 match under the “Market Bucks” incentive program, this has generated more than $90,000 in healthy food sales for local farmers and increased access to healthy foods for more than 1,600 low-income Minneapolis residents over the past two years.
Based on recommendations from the Homegrown Minneapolis initiative, four neighborhood based “hubs” began as part of the Local Food Resource Hubs Network, which helps Minneapolis residents grow their own fruits and vegetables by providing low-cost seeds, seedlings, gardening training and food preservation classes. The network attracted 600 members in its pilot year and will expand to 1,000 members this year.
More biking and walking infrastructure and opportunities.
The Nice Ride bike sharing program expanded from three to 11 kiosks in north Minneapolis, helping provide transit for residents and connecting them to key business districts throughout the city.
Venture North Bike Walk & Coffee opened on the North Side. The bike walk center provides affordable biking and walking goods and services while employing and training north Minneapolis youths through its retail staff positions and the All About Bikes mechanics training program.
More than 450 new signs (about half of which are on the North Side) help bicyclists and pedestrians find their way to major destinations using a safe network of bike lanes, pedestrian paths and trails.
Five public schools share two bike fleets for bike safety trainings, after-school programs, field trips and as a reward for students. The schools will also use the bikes in a 2012-2013 bike and pedestrian curriculum pilot run by the Minnesota Department of Transportation.
Five public schools established walking school buses: Parent volunteers walk along a designated route to school, picking up children at pre-determined points. One school established a “bike train” (similar concept).
More than 2,350 Minneapolis Public School students biked and walked for Bike Walk to School Day.
The City chose to strategically target the grant dollars primarily into north Minneapolis because the area has disproportionately high rates of obesity, chronic diseases and poverty, and it has low levels of adequate physical activity and fruit and vegetable consumption.
Communities Putting Prevention to Work in Minneapolis was funded as part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 by the Minneapolis Department of Health and Family Support through the Minnesota Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Published Jun. 4, 2012