A Healthy Food Access Town Hall Meeting was held Tuesday, August 9th, inside the Center for Technology, Innovation, and Manufacturing at the Vincennes University Jasper Campus with former VUJC Dean Dr. Alan Johnson serving as moderator.
The goals of the event focused on providing awareness about local conditions surrounding healthy food access, discuss potential policy solutions, identify community resources and best practices, and create a dialogue between key stakeholders and community members.
The guest panel consisted of Ashlee Sudbury the Community Wellness Coordinator in the Nutrition Education Program at Purdue Extension, Kelly Hartwick a Professor of Nursing at VUJC, Michael Jones the Executive Director of Memorial Hospital Foundation, and Danielle Patterson the Government Relations Director of the American Heart Association.
The Indiana Minority Health Coalition, in cooperation with Jasper’s Memorial Hospital Foundation, sponsored the event.
As a member of Indiana Healthy Food Access Coalition, the Indiana Minority Health Coalition has been conducting these series of Healthy Food Access Town Hall Meetings across the state, IMHC Public Policy Intern/Indiana University Graduate Student, Naima Gardner, describes the initiative of the series.
Gardner mentioned that food insecurity issues that Sudbury spoke about also affect rural areas with the underrepresented population that can lead to anxiety in adults who worry of not having accessible healthy food and poor school performance in children who may not have access to a proper meal daily.
Sudbury also stated that food insecurity can even lead to obesity as not having affordable healthy food defaults some people to buy inexpensive unhealthy food.
In relation to that Hartwick spoke about the severity results of unhealthy food leading to diabetes and shared she has partaken in using Tower Garden by Juice Plus using aeroponics growing plants that can be placed in pots and she harvest withing 14 days from planting.
In addition, Patterson elaborates on the role the American Heart Association takes and the importance of letting Indiana legislators learn about how these issues affect everyone statewide.
During the effective dialogue between attendees and the panel, Patterson also noted that the presence of healthy eating at the school level sets precedence in how future generations prioritize the access of healthy foods.
Jones spoke about one of the innovative projects that’s underway in Jasper is to highlight and create a community-wide movement of providing community grown food for those who need it with the Hope Garden project.
Jones says that while there are various organizations alongside Memorial Hospital and the community, there is always a need for volunteers to continue the community wide food-access initiative.
To learn more or participate with Hope Garden contact Mike Jones by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 812-996-8426.