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Making it Better: Minnesota's Health Improvement Log

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Dec. 12, 2019

OSHII staff update

Jen Cash Headshot

Two additions to the team

We are pleased to announce the two newest additions to the OSHII Team, Jennifer Cash and Mike Zastoupil.

Cash is the new Cessation Services Program Supervisor.

She earned her M.P.H. at the University of Michigan School of Public Health and her B.A. in Human Development at College. Cash served for six years as the Senior Cessation Program Manager at ClearWay Minnesota. She has previously worked at several health and wellness agencies. She is an active volunteer, including serving as a founding member and board co-chair of Women’s Cancer Action.

Zastoupil is the new Food Access Associate.

He holds a Master of Science Degree in Agriculture, Food and Environment from Tufts University – Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. Zastoupil has experience working on various food systems projects that range from assessing the needs of new farmers, to teaching Farm to School lessons in school classrooms.

Welcome to OSHII!

Mike Z. Headshot

Making it Better subscription update

A new, easier way to subscribe!

We’ve streamlined the process to sign up for the SHIP e-newsletter Making it Better. Instead of requesting to get on the mailing list, anyone interested in receiving the newsletter can sign up online. The sign-up link is at the top of the Making it Better page.

Good Food Access Program Grant

Applications due Feb. 13

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is now accepting applications for the 2020 Good Food Access Program (GFAP) Equipment and Physical Improvement Grants. The GFAP Equipment and Physical Improvement Grant increases the availability of and access to affordable, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food (including produce) for under-served communities in low and moderate-income areas.

Visit the Good Food Access Program website for an application.

PeopleForBikes Grant Opportunity

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Improving communities through biking

PeopleForBikes is a national movement to make riding better for everyone. Their Community Grant Program supports bicycle infrastructure projects and targeted advocacy initiatives that make it easier and safer for people of all ages and abilities to ride.

PeopleForBikes accepts grant applications from non-profit organizations with a focus on bicycling, active transportation, or community development, from city or county agencies or departments, and state or federal agencies working locally.

Applications for the next grant is due April 3.

Visit the PeopleForBikes website for grant guidelines and the application.

This week’s Gem

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Food shelf expansion means direct investment in student health

In 2019, the Food Pantry at Central Lake College in Brainerd underwent an expansion. It redesigned to serve better students who can’t afford to buy nutritious food.

“Expanding our food shelf is more than just purchasing shelves and additional food,” said Erich Heppner, Director of Student Life. “It’s making a direct investment in our students and their health.”

Heppner said that the food pantry, inside of the Student Life Center, is a great location so that students feel welcomed to come, hang out between classes and take food without any judgement. The previous location had limited space, which also limited the amount of food available and accessibility to students.

Through funding from Crow Wing Energized and the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership, space was nearly doubled with additional storage and refrigeration. A prep station, with microwaves, is in the pantry so students can prepare quick meals. Students can take food items that they can make complete meals with home. In support of the changes, cooking classes on healthy meal preparation are held in the Student Life Center.

Fruits and vegetables are the first thing students see upon entering, which helps encourage healthy choices. Food categories are organized like a traditional grocery store with the food groups identified with signage. Healthier options are displayed at eye-level.

Central Lakes College continues to evaluate distribution options so students can access more fresh food, resulting in an even deeper commitment to student health.

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