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109 W. Madison Mt. Ayr, IA 50854 View Location

Dec 26

County-wide Food Systems Assessment Being Organized

Food is a basic human need, yet several of the leading causes of death in Iowa are the result of diet-related chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabete . Ringgold County Public Health (RCPH) is helping to lead efforts that address the impacts of the current food system, including obesity, food insecurity, food borne illnesses, and contaminated water supplies.

A food systems working group which included Susie Catanzareti (Mt. Ayr Community School Ag Instructor), Tawnya Jones (Mt. Ayr Community School Food Service Coordinator), Roger Townsend (local Hy-Vee Store Director), Karla Hynes (MATURA Action Corporation WIC Director), Chris Doster and Vicki Sickels (CTG staff members) met December 18 to lay the ground work for a county-wide Food Systems Assessment.

The assessment is part of a RCPH Community Transformation Grant (CTG) initiative designed to examine a broad range of issues and assets from farm to fork.  The end goal is to create a plan to ensure that all Ringgold County residents have equal access to healthy food and clean water.  To achieve this goal, the food system needs to support human, environmental, social, and economic health.

“According to the Kids Count Data Center, Ringgold County currently has the highest childhood poverty rate in Iowa at over 29%,” explained CTG Administrator Vicki Sickels. “A plan that addresses this is another goal of the group.”

A roster of community members and stakeholders is being gathered to invite to participate in the assessment process. This larger group will be asked to prioritize indicators addressing the assets, needs, resources and capacities of Ringgold County. It will provide an opportunity to increase community participation in shaping the food system.

This comprehensive assessment will allow local public health agencies and partners to identify the interconnections within the food system. Understanding these connections leads to broader awareness of food system related issues, stronger public health program development and greater capacity to create a healthier food environment. If you would like to be part of the Ringgold County Food System Assessment process, please call Ringgold County Public Health at 641-464-0691.