Editors note: The April AALC Newsletter attributed the lead article regarding the Regional Open Space Strategy (ROSS) to Laurel Arndt with the Sonoran Institute. The article was actually submitted by Laurel based on information prepared by the Central Conservation Alliance: http://mymountainparks.org/
RURAL HEALTHY COMMUNITIES
Through the process of identifying information to include in this newsletter, it became clear that there are a number of topics that can be addressed within the scope of this broad theme.
To provide focus on issues in rural Arizona communities - and perhaps have fun with alliteration - we selected food, floods and fires. Through the research process and interaction with members in rural Arizona communities, it’s clear that access to healthy food is a major issue. We also recognized that many rural communities are frequently in a position where there is a need to confront the issues such as wild fires and/or flooding caused by the dry/wet weather patterns in Arizona.
ARIZONA CASE STUDY:
Local Foods, Local Places: Ajo, AZ
A Regional Food Partnership
Demonstrates the Value of Coordination
Editor’s Note: During the 2017 Arizona Food Summit, Nina Sajovec, Executive Director of the Ajo Center for Sustainable Agriculture (CSA), presented a grassroots effort in Ajo to address food insecurity, build a sense of community and provide an opportunity for Ajo residents to encourage the local economy. The Ajo program that has received much recognition. The following overview from the Environmental Protection Agency that describes the successes.
"The small, rural community of Ajo, Arizona, is in the middle of the Sonoran Desert and just 43 miles from the Mexican border. Ajo boomed as a copper-mining town at the turn of the 18th century, and the mine ended production in 1985. As of 2015, Ajo had a population of fewer than 4,000 people.
It might seem an unlikely place for a local food system to form the basis of community revitalization. However, in 2009, the Ajo Regional Food Partnership formed, aiming to enhance residents’ health, well-being, and food security. The diverse group of partners includes nonprofit organizations, the local school district, a health center, the library, and the county parks and recreation department. The group began virtually from zero, with nutrient-poor, contaminated soils in an area that sees little rainfall and had no recent history of agriculture."
The Many Hands Urban Farm and Learning Center .
(Photo courtesy of Ajo CSA)
"The partnership created a widely distributed network of local food sources under the stewardship of many individuals and groups. This network includes backyard gardens, community gardens and farms, farmers markets, grocery stores, restaurants, and food pantries/banks. The hub for many of these activities is the nonprofit Ajo Center for Sustainable Agriculture’s Many Hands Urban Farm and Learning Center, where the community helped create gardens, orchards, and a chicken coop. All of the growing areas serve as demonstration sites and growing sites for Sonoran Desert heirloom crops.
The learning center also hosts after-school Kids at the Farm programming, where 50 children and their families grow their own food and learn about healthy food preparation. The Ajo Center for Sustainable Agriculture is on the property of the Sonoran Desert Inn and Conference Center. The inn’s renovation in 2015 created a job-training site for community residents. A commercial kitchen was added a year later to serve the inn, provide space for cooking classes and demonstrations, and give market vendors a place to create prepared foods and value-added products."
Photos of the Sonoran Desert Inn & Conference Center (Photo courtesy of AALC member, Kenneth Steel)
"In part due to the action planning at the 2015 Local Foods, Local Places workshop, the partnership’s efforts increased the amount of food-producing land fourfold, from 10,000 to 40,000 square feet in just six years, while food production expanded eight fold, from 1,000 to 8,000 pounds per year. In 2016, at least 500 local families (more than one-quarter of all Ajo households) were involved with growing, selling, processing, and/or buying local foods.
The benefits have extended far beyond food. The Authentically Ajo Farmers Market serves as a community gathering space and has incubated 70 food vendors in a town with extreme poverty and few job opportunities. The market, learning center, and other gardens have been instrumental in revitalizing and greening the town while fostering hope for the future. The farmers market held in the town plaza attracts around 400 customers weekly during the height of the season and has helped increase sales for plaza businesses. In addition, the annual Ajo Food Festival attracts more than 1,000 visitors, including from Phoenix and Tucson, and has become Ajo’s largest community festival."
- Local foods can be the basis for community revitalization in all types of climates.
- A diverse partnership allowed the effort to reach deep into the community and achieve multiple community goals.
- Community participation in building backyard and community gardens generated support to sustain the partnership’s efforts.
Photos of the various backyard gardens in Ajo (Photo courtesy of AALC member, Kenneth Steel)
Fortunately, Arizona has few tornadoes – although those of us who have experienced a micro-burst during a summer Monsoon storm might argue the point. However, whether there is a tornado, a monsoon storm, or a wildfire, it is critical for a community, particularly a rural community, to have a plan in place for the community response. We checked with a few communities in Arizona, but could not locate a rural community with a comprehensive disaster response plan. If such plans do exist, please provide the contact provide the name of the community and a contact person and we will include in a subsequent newsletter.
Disasters Toolkit for Texas Rural Communities
Michael McAnelly, FAICP
Plan4Health connects communities across the country, funding work at the intersection of planning and public health. Anchored by American Planning Association (APA) chapters and American Public Health Association (APHA) affiliates, Plan4Health supports creative partnerships to build sustainable, cross-sector coalitions.
The Texas Planners4Health Team used the experience of a rural Texas community with devastating tornadoes to develop a toolkit addressing disaster planning and recovery for small communities from a planning and public health perspective. The team hopes this project sheds light on the need for an emergency preparedness and recovery plan so that small and rural communities can better prepare for disasters in their own areas.
On April 29, 2017, seven tornadoes ripped through Van Zandt County in Northeast Texas, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage, and four fatalities. Two of the seven tornadoes were found to have caused the most damage and were rated an EF-3 and EF-4. The areas that were affected the most were immediately to the east and the west of Canton, Texas.
In response, the Texas Chapter of the American Planning Association and the University of North Texas School of Public Health assembled a Planners4Health team to focus on disaster recovery, in Van Zandt County, from a social determinant of health perspective.
According to the team, one of the lessons learned after the Canton tornado was how critical it is to have an already-established Long Term Recovery Group in a community. The toolkit, Emergency Preparedness and Recovery: A Toolkit for Rural Communities - , is organized around the areas of responsibility and oversight of such a group.
Food for All Plan:
Inclusive Food Planning in North Austin
Editor’s Note: Although Austin is far from being a “rural” community, a project was initiated through the APA/APHA Plan4Health program that has resulted in the identification of a process for working with neighborhoods on an individual basis throughout Austin to address food insecurity. Because the program has a focus on small scale communities – such as neighborhoods - it can be used as a template for similar programs in rural communities. Following is a brief overview of the program and a link to access the Food for All Plan.
The Austin, Texas, Office of Sustainability partnered with the University of Texas to create the Food for All plan, using an approach that pilots the development of inclusive neighborhood food system planning.
This Plan4Health case study report examines the project's focus on community engagement through surveys and focus groups, and bringing policy recommendations back to neighborhood residents and retailers before making them final.
In April 2015, the City of Austin, Office of Sustainability published the first State of the Food System report, which illustrated key data about Growing, Selling, Eating, and Recovering food locally. The report provided a snapshot of Austin’s food system with interesting and, in some instances, alarming statistics about the challenges related to food and health. While Austin’s 30-year comprehensive plan, Imagine Austin, provides a general vision for a sustainable food system, the report pointed to the need for specific priorities, strategies, and actions that would expedite efforts towards these visionary goals.
Making Austin’s food system more sustainable offers many benefits to the community – job creation, a strong local economy, improved public health, and fewer impacts to transportation systems and mobility. And when food system planning is conducted at the neighborhood scale rather than using a city-wide or regional focus, individuals are empowered to participate in solutions, additional capacity that is appropriate for the community can be identified, and the assets that already exist in the community can be leveraged to their full advantage.
With this neighborhood-based approach in mind, the City of Austin applied for and was awarded a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through the American Planning Association’s Plan4Heath program to address physical activity and access to healthy food in the North Central Austin area. Working in parallel, the Austin Transportation Department and the Office of Sustainability developed an active transportation encouragement program and conducted Neighborhood Food System Planning with community members and key stakeholder groups. This pilot effort set out to inform how the City of Austin might expand the Neighborhood Food System Planning process citywide.
Resilient Communities - Health Care Without Harm
Amber Hansen, MS, RD
Health Care Without Harm is leading the healthcare sector in moving beyond doing “less harm”—reducing negative impacts from the design and operation of health care—to a future where the sector “heals” or restores ecological, economic and social capital within communities.
As anchor institutions, hospitals are embracing a commitment to apply their social and economic influence and intellectual resources to better the long-term public and environmental health of their communities. They are rooted in place, hold significant investments in real estate and social capital, and are among the largest employers in their communities.
Due to their significant purchasing power and trusted role as authorities on health and wellness, hospitals have an important opportunity to not only increase access to healthier, more sustainably produced food for patients, staff, and the community, but to transform the food system toward greater health and sustainability through local sourcing of goods and services and strategic investments.
Community benefit investments are one pathway for nonprofit hospitals to address healthy food access and strengthen the food system. Nonprofit hospitals provide community benefit programs to maintain their tax-exempt status. Recent regulatory changes open the door for greater investment in social determinants of health by requiring nonprofit hospitals to assess community health needs and implement strategies to address priority needs.
Leading health care institutions are utilizing their community benefit programs to support community programs that improve access to healthy, affordable food and at the same time, support economic and workforce development in low-income or disadvantaged communities and strengthen local and sustainable food systems.
Get Involved - Act Now
- Delivering community benefit: healthy food playbook - Created with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the playbook inspires and supports hospital community benefit professionals and community partners in developing initiatives to promote healthy food access and healthy, local and sustainable food systems. The playbook offers information and tools to address food- and diet-related community health needs throughout the community health engagement process.
- California Anchors in Resilient Communities project - Anchors in Resilient Communities (ARC) is a multi-sector community-based partnership, comprised of representatives from key anchor institutions in the San Francisco Bay Area of Northern California working to build resilient regional food economies.
Food and Health Toolkit:
The Healthcare Without Harm Playbook
Healthy foods-focused professionals now have an excellent resource to chew on. “Delivering Community Benefit: Healthy Food Playbook” isn’t a publication to digest. Instead, it is a website hub of resources, case studies, research and convenings to help bring healthy food strategies within reach.
The site has been built and curated specifically to help bring issues like food insecurity into hospital community health needs assessments, but it doesn’t stop there. The playbook includes a guide for developing implementation strategies, and even provides support in terms of results evaluation and communication.
It’s designed for hospital professionals, but many sectors can benefit from the research and strategies related to food banks and pantries, fruit and vegetable incentives, healthy corner store programs, breakfast in the classroom and so much more.
Social Determinants of Health Conference Recap
March 27, 2018
What took place on March 27? A sold-out audience of 300+ attendees experienced six and a half hours packed with content from both national and local perspectives. Together, we reflected on the opportunity to bring health care and the social determinants of health together in one room and consider win-win-win scenarios for Arizona. According to an astonishing 160 post-conference evaluations, Arizona is hungry for more. Here are some next steps:
1. Click here to become a member of the Arizona Partnership for Healthy Communities.
2. Subscribe to the Vitalyst Spark podcast. Plans are underway to debut a three-part series featuring the Build Healthy Places Network’s full array of resources and insights.
3. If you haven't already, get to know and connect with Health Services Advisory Group's care coordination coalitions. Click here to learn all about phase two of the "No Place Like Home" Campaign, one of the largest coordinated improvement initiatives undertaken by the Arizona healthcare community.
And stay tuned for more as Vitalyst and the conference partners continue the momentum of connecting health care with the social determinants of health.
Planning for Resilience
As the triple threats of climate change, rapid urbanization, and globalization exert pressure on cities, many of those places are looking to be more resilient — now and 25, 50, or 100 years from now. But what is urban resilience, and how do you plan for it?
The first question, a definition, is easier; it’s the second that’s knottier.
In a dynamic and crowded session at the National Planning Conference in New York City on May 6, 2017, participants in the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities shared their experiences.
Some takeaways about resiliency planning:
- Collaboration and coordination is essential.
- Efforts must include planning for the most vulnerable populations.
- Resiliency isn’t a “plan.” It’s layered into every part of a city and every department of its government.
Building Sustainability and Resilience
into Local Planning Agencies
Local governments are increasingly focusing on sustainability and resilience. This includes preparing for natural hazards, reducing carbon footprints and greenhouse gas emissions, adapting to climate change, reducing health and social inequities, promoting community economic development, and offering more transportation alternatives. Job titles in local government increasingly include the words “sustainability” or “resilience.” These issues, however, are addressed by far more planners and others without such titles. Sustainability and resilience, by whatever terms, are hosted in planning offices; other departments, including public works or environment; and the offices of the mayor, administrator, or chief executive. Job requirements in all of these places may be perfectly aligned with planners’ skill sets — or they may require different skills.
Planning Resilient Infrastructure
Planning more resilient infrastructure systems is significantly advanced by communities when they engage in continuous resilience planning, as capsulized below:
• Create a continuing planning and development process that will shift the way in which infrastructure services are designed and implemented, to consider more resilient protection for existing and future infrastructure systems
• Create a resilience program and recovery plan for post disaster implementation that considers the types of risks that threaten critical systems, assesses vulnerable infrastructure, and identifies priorities for improving resilience, based on an assessment of multi-compartment and life-cycle costs and project benefit.
Planning for Wildfires
In recent years, wildfires have routinely grabbed public attention through dramatic news stories. Wildfires are among the most photogenic of disasters, but that is not the only reason to pay attention. They are rapidly emerging as a serious question for land-use planning. As development spreads into high-risk fire zones, wildfires destroy homes, take lives, degrade air quality, burn hazardous materials that would not otherwise be present, and produce serious ecological damage. In addition, they often help effectuate subsequent disasters, such as landslides when rains sweep soil down hills denuded of vegetation.
This report explores both issues, outlining how knowledge of wildfire risks can be incorporated into comprehensive planning and identifying best practices for development in at-risk areas.
- In northern Arizona, the Rodeo-Chediski fire in June-July 2002, which became Arizona’s largest fire ever, burned 463,000 acres, destroyed more than 300 homes, and forced the evacuation of more than 32,000 people. Insurance claims totaled about $120 million, according to the ISO (Hilbert 2002).
Understanding and Overcoming Spatial Segregation
Thursday, May 24, 2018, 11:00 am - 12:00 pm (EDT)
Click here to register at no-cost
Land use policies, access to public services, decisions about where to build affordable housing, historical practices (such as redlining by the U.S. banking system), as well as entrenched social and economic exclusion have shaped the spatial development of cities by influencing how and where resources are allocated and investments deployed. For fortunate residents, the structures and systems in place enable them to access hubs of economic activity, reside in neighborhoods with quality housing in high opportunity areas, and access vital public services and amenities. For those who are less fortunate, it means dealing with social and economic isolation, living in neighborhoods plagued by poverty and disinvestment, and in areas more susceptible to climate-related events.
Fostering Social Equity and Inclusive Growth Series
May 29, 2018, 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. CDT
In a first-of-its-kind educational opportunity, APA ‑— in conjunction with NPC18 — is hosting three related educational sessions about social equity in the coming months. In light of today's political uncertainties and challenges, how can planners foster broad-based, inclusive growth, and ensure they are creating more just and equitable communities? What should the planner’s role be?
CONFERENCES & WORKSHOPS
2018 Arizona Food Summit
Registration will be sent to all AALC members
The biannual national conference convenes 600+ public health stakeholders from across the nation to share legal and policy strategies for advancing healthy communities, and the Network is thrilled that for the first time, it will be right here in Phoenix. The conference’s 40+ panels and pre-conference workshops on wide-ranging health justice issues such as preemption, food access/waste, healthy transportation, and homelessness.
Policies for Action: Policy and Law Research
to Build a Culture of Health
2018 Call for Proposals
Application Deadline: June 7, 2018, 3:00 p.m. ET
Policies for Action was created to help build the evidence base for policies that can help build a Culture of Health. We are interested in learning how national, state or local policies can promote lifelong health and health equity for individuals, families, and communities; as well as what enabling factors promote the adoption and spread of good policies.
Scholars and other experts from any field can help us understand how policies influence, both positively and negatively, the many potential drivers of population health, well-being, and equity. We welcome proposals that will investigate public and private policies from a range of political ideologies and perspectives. By policies, we mean not just laws and regulations at the local, state, and federal level, but also private sector practices, such as those affecting workplaces, neighborhood and community development, and family stability. Both public and private sector policies and practices can significantly impact a person’s health. These policies and practices might be related to: health care; public health; education and training; housing and community development; civil rights; transportation and planning; labor and employment; taxes and spending.
Environmental Justice EPA - Grant Writing Basics
The EPA has developed the following tips to help applicants (especially those new to the federal grant application process) demystify the FOA and position themselves for a solid submission:
- Register with Grants.gov and assign roles to your team before digging into an FOA or creating a workspace. If you don’t set up your account properly, you risk facing delays when you are ready to begin work on the application.
- Read the FOA’s eligibility requirements carefully. After all, you don’t want to spend hours on an application only to realize later that you are not eligible to apply.
- Preview the forms that you will need to fill out, including any optional ones that might require extra work or file attachments. Identify information or agreements you need that will take a while to track down.
- Try to visualize what a successful application will look like. Break it down into its component parts budget data, narrative and storytelling, standard form data, etc.
- Jot down the agency contact listed in the opportunity. And if you need to, establish a line of communication early in the process so that if you have any program-related questions you can quickly reach out.
- Plan to submit the final application at least a few days before the closing date, allowing yourself time to fix errors if any are encountered when you click submit.