Minnesota Department of Health: Healthy Places
The design of the places where we live, work and play affects our health by determining our access to healthy foods and health care services, our ability to be physically active, and the quality of the air we breathe and the water we drink.
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Active Living integrates physical activity into daily routines such as walking or bicycling for recreational, occupational or purposeful (transportation) reasons. Active Living provides safe, desirable and convenient opportunities for physical activity. Active Living policies and practices in community design, land use, site planning and walking/biking facility access are proven effective to increase levels of physical activity. The objective of the Active Living strategy is to increase physical activity- primarily walking and bicycling- in the community.
Active Living Resources
Healthy eating is largely predicated on the ability or inability to access healthier food choices. The availability of affordable, appealing, healthy food options, coupled wit the knowledge needed to make an informed choice, will help Minnesotans eat foods more consistent with the U.S Dietary Guidelines for Americans. This strategy focuses on increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables while reducing consumption of saturated fats, sodium and added sugars. The goal is to increase access to and selection of healthy foods to improve health and reduce chronic disease for all.
Increase access to and availability of farmers markets in communities with the greatest need, for example, where access to affordable fruits and vegetables is challenging. Farmers markets can:
Give growers an opportunity to bring valuable resources for health and well-being to the community.
Provide the community venue for community engagement and networking.
Advance health equity
Community Based Agriculture
Community-based agriculture can be a single piece of land cultivated and tended collectively by a group of people, or it can be a series of individual/plots that members of a community use to grow produce. Some community-based agriculture plots grow fruits, vegetables and herbs and dedicate a portion to be sold at farmers market to pride a revenue stream to purchase seeds, tools, insurance, mulch or water. Many donate produce to food shelves and other emergency food programs.
Community-based agriculture can have several significant benefits for a community including:
Providing a catalyst for neighborhood and community development
Stimulating social interaction
Reducing family food budgets
Creating opportunities for recreation, exercise, therapy and education
Preserving green space
Creating income opportunities and economic development.
Emergency food programs are generally delivered by community-based, advocacy organizations and religious organizations around Minnesota.
Those with limited incomes often find it difficult or impossible to purchase healthy foods due to cost, limited availability and limited access. Food shelves can provide such individuals with healthy choices they may not otherwise have, resulting in improved eating habits and improved health.
To increase access, availability and selection of healthier foods provided through emergency food programs by implementing strategies that educate decision-makers, donors, suppliers, staff and volunteers; by helping hunger relief organizations create guidelines for and promotion of healthier food options.
Food Retail- Convenience Stores
A convenience store is a small store that stocks and sells everyday items such as groceries, soft drinks and tobacco products. It may be part of a gas station and can be located in urban or rural areas. Many times it is the only food outlet for several miles.
Many rural communities and some cities do not have nearby food sources or stores offering healthy, affordable options. Sometimes convenience stores offer convenient ready-to-eat foods that are high in saturated fat, sodium and added sugar and offer few if any fruits and vegetables.
To increase access to, selection of, and demand for healthier options in convenience stores.