Dakota County Public Health provided resources to help local food shelves survey their clients, volunteers and staff. The survey revealed a demand and support for healthier, whole foods.
As a result, a toolkit, Creating Healthy Food Shelves, and workshops were created. These resources help people learn about creating and implementing policies and procedures to increase availability and consumption of healthier foods. The surveys and toolkit were shared with the Hunger Action Team of the Metro Food Access Network. Food shelves continue to make improvements to increase access to healthy foods.
Making the healthy choice the easy choice in Burnsville
These striking photos of the Burnsville Food Shelf are just one example of a long-standing partnership between 360 Communities, Dakota County Health Promotion, and the U of M Extension. This is one of five food shelves managed by 360 Communities.
Funds from SHIP helped provide some foundational resources to the food shelves in the county to support expanding the amount of healthy food they offer.
Even though food shelves are no longer receiving SHIP funds, 360 Communities has made even more progress toward providing and promoting healthy foods, through other partnerships and healthy food guidelines at every food shelf. The connection with SHIP helped them secure a $3,000 charitable donation from Allina Health to make several physical changes at the Burnsville Food Shelf (photos above). They were also recruited to be a pilot site funded through the U of M Extension and receive additional staff expertise and assistance.
In addition to the before and after photos, 360 Communities developed a video highlighting their work and are currently partnering with the U of M Extension to demonstrate the positive impact this has had on their clients, including measuring pounds of fresh produce provided to their clients. Feedback has been extremely positive. Anika Rychner, Director of Self Sufficiency at 360 Communities, described it saying: “It helps make the healthy choice the easy choice. Regularly people comment on how wonderful it looks and how much they appreciate the unlimited fresh produce now available.”