Carver County SHIP | June Newsletter

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Carver County Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP)

Community Collaboration Supports Hands-On Learning

Guardian Angels Group Planting

Students at Guardian Angels participated in a planting day in May.

Guardian Angels Catholic School in Chaska partnered with SHIP to start a school-based agriculture program for their students in grades four through eight. School staff and leadership identified the need to teach students more about nutrition and where food comes from, and they began plans to incorporate gardening into the science curriculum. The goal is for students to learn about agriculture and nutrition, cultivate fresh produce, and try new vegetables for years to come.

Elizabeth Cook, a science teacher at Guardian Angels, spearheaded the project.  The students actively participated in the planning process as part of their science classes, and nearly 100 students participated in planting the garden. Elizabeth said, “[They] have worked hard to plan and understand these gardens and are excited to see them start to grow. Many have already signed up to take care of them with their families over the summer and will be in charge of watering, weeding and harvesting for the season.”

The Carver-Scott Extension Master Gardeners played a huge role in making planting day a success. Bob Strawn, a Master Gardener, taught a short lesson on gardening and the importance of pollinators. Bob hoped to “spark their interest” about their vital role in the food system before the students planted the garden. Students in the older grades also shared their knowledge about gardening by assisting the younger students with the planting.

Students from the YouthBuild Program created custom made garden beds for Guardian Angels. YouthBuild students learn construction skills through instruction and hands-on learning, and they donated their time and energy to make this project come to life. YouthBuild built five garden beds, one for each grade level, so the planting and harvesting could be specific to each grade’s science curriculum. Guardian Angels will also create an outdoor classroom with benches and a chalk board to further facilitate hands-on learning activities. During the summer, students and their families will volunteer to care for the gardens for a week at a time. They will water, weed, harvest, and eat the produce. When students return to school in the fall, the remaining harvest will be shared with the students who planned and planted the garden.

Creating the garden was a community effort made possible by partnerships among Guardian Angels, Carver-Scott Extension Master Gardeners, the YouthBuild Program at Southwest Metro Intermediate District 288, parent volunteers, and Carver County Public Health.

Two Farmers Markets Promote the Power of Produce

Power of Produce Club

This summer, the Chaska Downtown and Bongards Farmers Markets will have the Power of Produce (PoP) Club for children ages 4 to 12 years. The PoP Club is an incentive program designed to engage children at farmers markets and empower them to make healthy choices. Each week, children receive a $2 token to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables. The program is FREE to participate.

The Chaska Downtown Farmers Market starts on June 28 and is open every Wednesday from 3 p.m.-7 p.m. The market is located at City Square Park.

The Bongards Market starts on June 7 and is open every Wednesday from 3 p.m.-7 p.m. The market is located at the intersection of Highway 212 and County Road 51 in Norwood Young America. 

See you at the market!

Break Room Remodel Supports Wellness

Mackenthun’s Fine Foods (Mackenthun’s) is a full-service supermarket based in central Carver County. In 2015, Mackenthun’s hired an in-store dietitian to further their mission of bringing health and wellness to their customers and employees. Today, the dietitian leads Mackenthun’s employee wellness initiative, Health to the Macks.

In March 2017, Mackenthun’s completed a remodel of the employee break room to make it more functional and aesthetically pleasing to employees. Mackenthun’s employee wellness committee and the management and repair teams sketched out changes for the break room. Internal resources and support from the SHIP grant made the changes possible. Highlights of Mackenthun’s break room remodel include:

  • Removal of pop machines
  • Addition of new refrigerator to store lunches/snacks and a small refrigerator for bottled water
  • New countertop and cabinets for additional storage and larger food prep area
  • A lighter, more calming paint color on the walls
  • Addition of three windows to allow natural light to shine into the break room

The worksite break room is a place for employees to relax and eat a meal during their work day or shift. Making the break room work for the employees is an often overlooked strategy to build a positive workplace culture, but it can have a big impact on improving morale and productivity. Additionally, research shows that employees eat healthier when they bring their meals or snacks from home.

Alyson Pulvermacher, the store’s dietitian comments on the remodel, “Our break room has truly transformed into a safe, function, and comfortable space for all employees to enjoy.” Overall employee response has been positive and management has noticed more employees are using the break room since the remodel was completed.

Mackenthun's Break Room Remodel

News and Upcoming Events

Free Summer Food Program

This summer, children 18 years and under can get a free bag lunch at Riverview Terrace Park. The program runs June 12 through August 25 (no food July 3 and 4), Monday through Friday. Food is served at 12:30 p.m. and is first come-first serve. Children do not need to be a resident of Riverview Terrace to receive free lunch.

The Summer Food Program is a partnership between Eastern Carver County Schools Community Education, Nutrition Services, Love, Inc. of Eastern Carver County, and Hunger Impact.

Car Seat Inspection Event

Attend this FREE event to have your booster or car seat installation checked.

Thursday, July 6 from 4:00-7:00 p.m. at the Chaska Fire Station.

Certified car seat technicians will teach you how to install and use your child’s car seat(s) correctly. There is no charge for a car seat inspection, but appointments are required. Click here to schedule an appointment and for additional details.

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