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Welcome to HC Link's blog! Our blog will provide you with useful information on healthy community topics, news, and resources, as well as information on HC Link’s events, activities, and resources. Our bloggers include HC Link staff and consultants, as well as our partnering organizations, clients, and experts in the health promotion field.

Please note: opinions in posts are those of the author and are not necessarily the opinions of HC Link or our funder.

We look forward to engaging in thought-provoking conversation with you!

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It takes a village: Social connections for health and well-being

By Rebecca Byers, HC Link

“Social isolation is the biggest health concern of our day,” said psychologist and best-selling author Susan Pinker during her closing keynote address at the Association of Ontario Health Centres (AOHC) Shift the Conversation conference I attended last week. She was referring to the science that shows social isolation harms peoples' health and shortens lifespans – material she covers in her latest book, The Village Effect, that explores how face-to-face contact is crucial for learning, happiness, resilience and longevity. Over the course of her talk, Susan shared the benefits of social connections and made the case for creating more inclusive communities where people know, and talk to each other, face to face.

Susan

Susan told us about her visit to a mountain village in Sardinia, Italy – one of the world’s “Blue Zone” areas as it is home to one of the highest proportion of super-centenarians. Her research of the over-100 club in Sardinia revealed that these centenarians typically had frequent and close connections with family and friends.

There is support for this observation; one study showed that social integration (loose in-person connections to many others) and close relationships (those tight bonds of friendship) are the strongest predictors of longevity – greater than perhaps more obvious things such as smoking, alcohol-use, diet, exercise, weight, hypertension.

chart

According to Susan, having loose in-person bonds, together with close relationships, creates a personal “village” around us, one that exerts unique effects. She went on to say that social contact (the face-to-face variety), like a vaccine, has a protective effect on our health, and it seems our bodies know it as it is a biological drive much like food and sleep. From birth to death, we are hard-wired to connect to other human beings and this connection gives us a sense of belonging.

“It’s a biological imperative to know we belong.” – Susan Pinker

Simply put, belonging matters. As mentioned by another presenter earlier at the conference, it’s the “secret sauce” to well-being. This is a belief supported by the Canadian Index of Well-being (CIW), which measures eight quality of life domains to provide a greater understanding of wellbeing and support evidence-based and community-focused decision-making. “Social relationships” is one of the categories of well-being indicators within the CIW’s Community Vitality domain - which looks at quality of life with regard to the communities we live in, how safe we feel, and whether or not we are engaged in community activities or socially isolated.

AOHC has been one of the pioneers to adopt the CIW. Over recent years, the association and its member organizations have worked to apply the CIW in a variety of innovative ways. One of the ways that community health centres are applying the CIW is by incorporating a “Be Well Survey” to collect information about the health and wellbeing of the people and communities they serve. The survey contains standardized questions that cover all eight CIW domains with a particular focus on Community Vitality and its components such as belonging, social connection, and inclusion.

Susan closed with the following recommendations for the audience of AOHC members, which I think hold true for all organizations, communities and people alike:

  • Build “third spaces” – social hubs that are neither work nor home. It doesn’t have to be fancy – can be as simple as providing tables and chairs. What’s important is that it draws people.

  • Build “villages”. Relationships help people thrive. Social contact should be built into all prevention and treatment plans.

You might also be interested in one of HC Link’s past webinars: Stress, Determinants of Health and Connectedness: Impacts on well-being 

 

 

 
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‘Everyday Superheroes’ recruited during Parachute Safe Kids Week to promote safe, active transportation and combat the #1 killer of Canadian children

safekidsweekbanner

By Julie Taylor, Parachute

This week is Parachute Safe Kids Week, a national campaign to raise awareness about predictable and preventable childhood injuries in Canada. This year’s campaign focuses on promoting safe and active transportation, which includes walking, cycling, skateboarding, scootering and other wheeled activities.

Each year, non-motorized wheeled activities lead to approximately 4,700 child injuries. Another 2,400 children are injured as pedestrians. As jurisdictions and organizations across Canada (including Parachute) adopt the Vision Zero approach, it’s important to keep a focus on our most vulnerable road users including child pedestrians and active transportation users. One fatality or serious injury on our roads, especially regarding children and youth is unacceptable.

This year’s theme is everyday superhero, which encourages children to become leaders in road safety by learning how to stay active and keep themselves and their loved ones safe on their travels to and from school, to the bus stop, and around their neighbourhood. Parents can guide their child’s activities by modelling safe behaviour and practices on the road, and also being aware of their child’s skill level.

This Safe Kids Week, Parachute is encouraging children and parents/caregivers to leave the car at home and choose active transportation whenever possible. The fewer cars on the streets and the more people walking, biking and wheeling, the safer it is!

Keep kids safe and active on their travels with these top tips:

walkWalk: Pedestrian Safety Tips

  • Teach kids at an early age to look left, right and left again when crossing the road.

  • Adults or older children need to walk with younger children and teach them how to cross the road safely. Young children can’t properly judge safe gaps in traffic or speeds.

  • Always cross the street at corners. Use traffic signals and crosswalks. Up to 25% of pedestrian collisions occur at mid block locations.

  • Walk on sidewalks or paths. Sidewalks can reduce pedestrian collisions by 88%. No sidewalks? Walk facing traffic as far away from vehicles as possible.

  • Phones down, heads up when walking. Teach kids to put phones, headphones and other devices down when crossing the street. Child pedestrians are up to 30% more likely to be struck or nearly struck by a vehicle when distracted by a cellphone.

  • Be seen. Teach kids to be especially alert and visible to drivers when walking after dark. Brightly coloured clothing and reflective gear help increase 360- degree visibility. 55% of pedestrian deaths occur at night and/or with low- light conditions.

bike2Bike: Cycling Safety Tips

  • Protect your head, wear a helmet. A properly fitted and correctly worn helmet can cut the risk of serious head injury by up to 80%. Using the 2V1 rule for helmet fitting (two fingers above eyebrows, straps form a ‘v’ under ears, no more than one finger space between strap and chin) will ensure better safety before taking a ride.

  • Check your ride. Ensure your kids’ bikes are adjusted correctly for their height and have them do a bike check before riding to ensure tires are inflated and brakes are working properly.

  • Be prepared. Bike safety training and knowing the rules of the road are important for the safety of riders.

  • Pick family friendly routes. Protect young riders by using designated riding areas when possible. These areas (often governed by bylaws) are in place for the safety of cyclists and pedestrians.

  • Stay on the right side of the road. Always ride on the right side of the road in the same direction as traffic to make you more visible to drivers. Adults should lead kids by cycling single file and having them repeat hand signals. Drivers should also give cyclists space on the road and be aware of the risks when opening car doors.

  • Assess your child’s navigational skills before riding on the road. Children develop better physical and cognitive skills around age 10 – but their ability to ride on the road may depend on their experience, environment and development. Not sure if your child is ready to ride solo? Consider traffic volume, the number of intersections and your child’s level of experience before making a decision.

  • Be seen and heard. Make sure drivers can see you at all times. Wearing bright, reflective clothing and equipping your bike with flashing lights and reflectors help increase 360- degree visibility. A working bell will also alert other riders and pedestrians when you are close or passing.

wheelWheel: Other Wheeled Activity Safety Tips (skateboarding, scootering etc.)

  • Wear the right helmet for the activity. Bike helmets can be used for in-line skating and scootering, but skateboarding helmets should be used for skateboarding and longboarding; they cover the back of the head better and can protect against more than one crash (see Which Helmet for Which Activity resource).

  • Always wear the gear. Along with a helmet, wear wrist guards to help prevent broken bones, sprains and wrist and arm fractures. Elbow and knee pads should also be worn for in-line skating.

  • Be seen. Make sure drivers can see you at all times. Wear brightly coloured clothing and reflective gear to help increase 360- degree visibility.

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It’s “cannabis” not “marijuana” and other interesting learnings from the Hon. Anne McLellan


By Jane McCarthy, Parent Action on Drugs

cannabis 1131526 1920Complex. Challenging. Broad societal impact. Words that come to mind when thinking about the legalization and regulation of cannabis in Canada. I recently had the opportunity to hear the Honourable Anne McLellan, chair of the Government of Canada’s Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation, also use these words when she spoke at the University of Waterloo School of Public Health and Health Systems about the work of the task force and where we are headed. Having scanned the 106-page Task Force report, it was a welcome opportunity to learn more about the recommendations, how they came together (80 diverse position statements taken into consideration) and how quickly so (five months), in a more dynamic way. While Ms. McLellan recapped the general public health approach and principles upon which the legislation introduced last month by the federal government is based, i.e., take a cautionary approach and protect the public’s health and safety, she imparted some interesting and important side notes, a few I’d like to share here.

  1. It’s cannabis, NOT marijuana, from here on, folks! —as we go forward, we need to stop using the term marijuana in our messaging and replace it only with the correct botanical name. Marijuana is slang and typically is thought of as the dried flowers of the cannabis plant for smoking or ingesting. Cannabis can be consumed in many different forms in multiple ways, so we need to re-educate ourselves and those we work with and serve.

  2. There is soooo much we don’t know about this plant!—We know some things about THC and CBD, and there is still more to learn about them, but what do we know about the 104 other active ingredients in cannabis? Not much. Are they harmful or helpful? We need to know. There will be a huge focus on primary research in the botanical sciences and merging that knowledge into the biomedical space. Interested in studying plants? There should be plenty of work available in that field as we move forward.

  3. Why recommending the minimum legal age be 18 years makes sense—It’s true the developing brain is more vulnerable to harms associated with cannabis use until 25 years of age. Contrary to recommendations made by medial associations and others to set it higher, the task force made this recommendation for a number of valid reasons. First, it makes practical sense for Provinces and Territories to choose to harmonize it with their legal drinking age, three of which have set that age at 18. Second, although it seems counter intuitive to not set a higher age when the focus is to protect youth, setting the minimum age too high would encourage an illicit market targeting youth and thus, leaving them more vulnerable to the harms associated with unregulated substance content and criminal interaction. Third, most Canadians reporting use of cannabis in the last year are 15-24 years of age. Usage falls off dramatically after age 25 to about 10%. If the legal age were 25, it would criminalize the bulk of users and wouldn’t have much of a harm reduction impact, now would it? The Task Force believes that with quality public education, most people by age 18 can make an informed decision.

  4. It’s a gender target market, so far—Males by far out-number females in terms of recreational cannabis consumption, approximately to the tune of 3:1. However, once legalized in Colorado, consumption did see a rise among females. It will be interesting to see if that holds true in Canada as well.

  5. Education is key: from creating clarity around legalization to promoting health and safety—Ms. McLellan noted that many from the recreational use cannabis advocacy community only seem to hear the word legalization, while the word regulation goes unnoticed. Just because it will become legal, doesn’t mean it’s a free for all for cannabis to be consumed by anyone, anywhere, anytime. People must be educated to understand the rules and be held accountable to them for public safety. And while we must move away from a psychology of prohibition to legal use, proper public education is required to address both the benefits and harms to mitigate both fear among those opposed to legalization and the misguided belief that there are no harms associated with cannabis among the fervent advocates. To keep children and teens safer, longer, it is paramount that parents and other adults involved with youth, and youth themselves, receive effective education about the potential harms to the developing brain ahead of legalization and on-going.

In a nutshell, there is much to learn about cannabis, its effects, and how to best legislate production, distribution, and use to promote public health and safety. Every aspect of society will be impacted in some way by legalization and regulation of recreational cannabis from perceived norms to business development to educational opportunities to healthcare to law enforcement to—you name it! Thus, the Task Force has recommended legislation that is cautious and flexible to respond to evolving knowledge and experience. As health educators and promoters, we must get ahead of the legalization and teach the risks of developmental harms to youth and risks associated with problematic patterns of use at any age. We must target and engage parents, health care providers, educators, community workers, and youth themselves to develop and evaluate effective tools about facts, norms, and making healthy, safe choices around cannabis, regardless of what the laws will look like.

 

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What Program Components Are Effective for Promoting Mental Health in the Early Years, School Years, and Transition-Age Youth?

By Jewel Bailey, CAMH Health Promotion Resource Centre

May 1-7 2017, is Mental Health Awareness Week. This annual event provides another opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of good mental health and what is required to achieve and maintain positive mental well-being. The Evidence Exchange Network within the Provincial System Support Program at CAMH, produced three evidence briefs that examine program components that are effective for promoting positive mental health in the early years, school years, and among transition-age youth. Selected findings for the three groups are presented below:

earlyyearsEarly Years

Home visiting and group-based parenting programs were identified as priority areas for this evidence brief since evidence demonstrates a high return on investment for these two types of interventions.

    1. Program components associated with effective home visiting include: utilizing appropriately and/or professionally trained home visitors, applying a clearly articulated theory of change, having more intensive programs, and teaching parents responsive parenting, behavior management, and problem-solving.

    2. Components associated with effective group-based parenting programs include: teaching parents emotional communication skills, disciplinary consistency, positive interactions with the child in non-disciplinary ways, and requiring parents to practice new skills with their own child during group sessions.

Read the Early Years Evidence Brief

schoolagedSchool-Aged Children

  1. Social emotional learning (SEL) programs are one category of mental health promotion interventions that foster the core competencies and skills to help children and adolescents manage emotions, relationships, and conflict.

  2. Components of effective SEL programs include using a whole school approach, SAFE (sequenced, active, focused, and explicit) components, interactive training methods, involvement of parents, and a focus on skill development. Programs delivered across all school levels have shown to be effective, though it is inconclusive whether longer programs are more beneficial than shorter programs.

Read the School Years Evidence Brief

 

tayTransition-Age Youth (TAY)

  1. Mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention supports for TAY must include interventions both on campus and in community-based settings that are diverse, integrated, and comprehensive.

  2. Skills-based programs that incorporate supervised behavior practice and feedback, such as those aimed at building cognitive-behavioral skills, mindfulness, or relaxation, have been shown to be effective at reducing levels of psychological distress among post-secondary students.

  3. Early evidence has demonstrated that integrated service centers, on campus or in the community, are effective at increasing access to mental health supports for TAY and somewhat effective at reducing psychological distress.

Read the TAY Evidence Brief


Findings from these evidence briefs informed the recommendations presented to the Ontario government by the Mental Health and Addictions Leadership Advisory Council in its 2016 Annual Report.

 

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Improve the Built Environment to Promote Food Access in your community: Questions, Responses and Helpful Links from our online discussion

By Kyley Alderson, HC Link

builtenvirofoodaccessheaderOn April 13th 2017, HC Link consultant Paul Young from Public Space Workshop joined with 50+ participants to share ideas, resources and information to help us improve the built environment to promote food access in our communities.

This online discussion focused on the physical/built environment, which is one key component of the overall food environment. Research and our experience shows us that the built environment can affect food access. There is a distinction between programming for food access in contrast to providing physical space (e.g. a municipal parking lot available for a food market) which can then support programming.

Below, we are sharing the questions that were asked, responses from Paul and participants, as well as helpful links and resources. Feel free to scroll to questions that appeal to you, and don’t forget to check out additional resource links at the bottom of the blog! If you have any remaining questions, or want clarification on the information provided, you can email Kyley at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Poll 1.

The discussion began with a few poll questions to get participants thinking about how the built environment can affect food access–

How close are you to your healthy food store where you regularly shop?
Is your community designed with food disbursed throughout it or is it located in one area of town?
Some communities are disproportionately affected by lack of access to healthy food. For people in your community that may be on fixed or low income, check all that apply. (Options included healthy food stores within walking distance, having food banks, community kitchens, or food markets nearby, and having more unhealthy vs healthy places nearby).

After the poll the discussion was guided by questions submitted by participants.

Questions and Reponses

1. What is a food swamp? What is a food desert? How can we identify where there is a need in my community?

  • Food Swamp – areas with more fast food and unhealthier food options

  • Food Desert – areas with limited healthy food options

  • Taking a geographical perspective on food access – you can map out food resources (healthy and unhealthy) to see where there is a need in your community.

  • Transportation is a key issue for food desserts.

  • Working with planning departments, you can look for ways to incentivize grocery stores to come into the community.

  • Zoning – (e.g., Toronto’s Residential and Commercial or RAC zoning). Toronto has been experimenting with this and looking for ways to incorporate shops into the bottom of higher apartment residential buildings. Planning departments have started to open up this discussion – to look at introducing mixed land uses and incentives for shops to be located there (in areas where there are food desserts).

  • Toronto Public Health/ Food Share – Pop up markets and mobile food markets – having a market on a regular schedule to bring food into the community.

  • Healthy Corner Stores Initiative – Toronto Public Health has piloted a program to encourage convenience stores to sell some healthy food options.

2. What strategies can you suggest to reduce food swamps? At a policy level, when an area is zoned for commercial how do you control what types of food outlets are approved?

  • There is a chain of agreements that fall into place – planning departments can have some influence in this and can work with developers in early stages when tenants are determined.

  • Example - PAN AM games village (now the Canary District) in Toronto – they had an influence over what types of establishments could lease store front locations. There was a restriction on chains (although there could still be independent unhealthy shops), but that is example of influence.

  • Still early days on working with developers on this.

  • Montreal and NYC seem to be leading the charge on this.

Participant shared:

  • Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit collaborates with the planning department and we are invited to pre-cons with the planners. We attend and then try to educate the developers about the benefits of healthy foods vs. risks of unhealthy foods, or highlight they are close to a school so we don't recommend fast food/convenience store. They don’t have to listen to our advice but many of the developers are interested and do take our suggestions.

3. In rural areas, where there is limited/no public transportation, do you have any suggestions for how people can access food (whether through grocery stores, farmers markets, etc.)?

  • One strategy - Work with planning department to get food stores to locate near the downtown – where people are living and where transit may be connected.

  • There is a current trend to locate retail by highways – this makes it very difficult if you don’t have a car. Speak with your planners.

  • Strategy – connect with farmers.

    • Look for opportunities for Good Foodbox model.

    • Community shared agriculture (CSA)– where there are a series of drop spots where people can pick up produce at a location that is easy/in close proximity to where they are living.

    • Farm gate retail – where farmers can bring produce into town, such as a weekly market, or set up stand/money box at the end of their driveway (may need access to car still for this option).

    • Shuttles and Ride Sharing – organize weekly trips to grocery store and share transportation costs. Some agencies might have access to a shuttle bus – might be a way to connect pick up and drop offs to food stores.

Participants shared:

4. What resources/education documents exist to assist in enabling stakeholders and decision makers to understand the impact of transportation on food access?

  • Maps can help – you can start to see where concentrations of food stores are and see where populations of higher need are living, and calculate the distance between the two. You can layer in information about the transit system and see where they are/are not connected.

  • Food By Ward – connected to the work of Toronto Food Policy Council. They have produced a number of maps that serve as a good model for mapping out resources (including community kitchens, markets, food stores, etc.)

  • Toronto Urban Growers are also doing mapping work to show where food resources are located.

  • Mapping helps to point out needs and gaps.

  • Housing and Transportation Index – looks at cost of housing and transportation combined. We might think we have affordable housing, but do we when we consider transportation in car dependent locations?

  • Shuttles, cab sharing, changing a transit system to connect higher need communities with food stores can be explored.

  • Working with planners and developers to bring in healthier food stores – real opportunity with new developments especially.

5.How can you gain public or political support for investments in the built environment as they relate to food access?

  • Drawing on experience at the South Riverdale CHC– They started a food working group with a wide representation of stakeholders. A working group is foundational for setting up strategies to address local challenges.

  • A working group adds credibility when speaking with decision makers, local elected representatives – to advocate for change.

  • Mapping – Paul is currently making food (and recreation) maps that list food resources within a 2 km radius around schools in Toronto’s tower neighbourhoods. Maps have icons for a variety of resources, e.g. – Farmers markets, community kitchens, etc. When decision makers see there is no icon on the map for one of the resources (food markets for example) they might begin to think – we don’t have this and we should. Maps are helpful and compelling tools for pointing things out to decision makers, especially food desserts and food swamps.

Participant shared:

  • In my experience, one needs to provide clear evidence to help people understand what the problems are and, especially, what the problems are not (e.g. in Toronto "food deserts" are not a big problem, but "food swamps" are). Then being very clear on potential solutions and what you need from decision makers to realize it. Precision and clarity is not something that's been a priority among public health actors but we need to get better at it.

6. How do you evaluate success/use of map by public?

  • Just in process of doing this with the school maps - sending out survey to teachers, asking if they are aware of the map and if they are using it in the classroom, etc.

  • If maps are available online – you can look at how many people are downloading the map from your website.

7. What criteria, resources or standards could be used to establish what is deemed a healthy vs an unhealthy food outlet?

  • Dieticians can visit each store and do an analysis on what is sold there. For the school maps we are relying on their expertise and their criteria to tell us whether it is a healthy food store or not and the percentage of healthy/unhealthy food in the food outlets.

Participants shared:

  • Developing a food charter as a first step to incorporating food access and influencing the food environment could be useful. Food charters could be the basis for food strategy and food policies. Find out more about Toronto's Food Policy Council here: http://tfpc.to/

  • In Toronto we created definitions of "healthier" and "less healthy" food outlets that we applied to public health inspection data as part of food envir't mapping. It's meant for use as an analytical tool, not in any way as a public designation. Happy to share that approach with anyone.

Poll 2.

Before moving on to further questions, we asked two more poll questions to get participants thinking about how land use planning policies might be affecting the built environment and its effect on food access.

If you have any new developments where you live, does the new community have shops (including food stores) located near homes (within walking distance)?

  • Development patterns are changing. We are coming out of an era where we put all the residential areas in one part of town and all the retail in another – which made us very depending on driving.

  • More recent developments have started to incorporate retail on ground floor.

  • Still a lot of urban sprawl going on.

The Provincial “Places to Grow” plan is in place to protect farm land and natural features in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. Has your municipality set out land use policies in the Official Plan to protect agricultural lands?

  • Most municipalities have an urban growth boundary – a boundary line that development is permitted to occur within to prevent sprawl and preserve farm land.


8.
What municipal policies have shown impact for improving access to healthy foods in a community and/or at the neighbourhood level?

  • Growth boundaries to prevent sprawl and preserve farm land

  • Mixed-use zoning – to encourage a retail and place to work in the community

  • Supporting existing downtowns – bring food shopping into downtown where people are living. Look for ways to support this in planning policies.

  • Story in The Star a few years ago – a couple moved to downtown Milton to be closer to shops and leave car at home. But as development unfolded, large format retailers (including food stores) were located on the outskirts of town and the downtown became more of a boutique retail area. Couple had to use the car to get their everyday shopping needs. Policies that enable new retail areas outside of existing communities can have an impact on food access.

  • Residential Commercial Zoning. Communities can introducing retail (even small scale convenience) into residential areas that don’t have any retail currently.

  • Municipalities can also introduce policies to enable community gardens at various scales. Fresh City Farms at Downsview park for example.

  • Designating areas for markets – Bellville has a formalized market downtown. Can also look at simpler models where policies allow parking lots to be used for markets at certain times.

  • By-laws such as allowing hens in the backyard for fresh eggs.

Participant shared: http://www.rentthechicken.com/


9. Erinn Salewski: Are there opportunities to insert food access language into municipal planning documents ie. City Master Plan, etc.?

  • Yes - see examples above

  • There are a number of documents that shape community planning - Official Plan, secondary plans with more detail (e.g., park space schools and lot sizes).


10. People living in poverty (whom, they themselves or people they know, also tend to experience higher levels and frequency of crisis) may not have energy or time (due to life as well as working multiple jobs) to go to a community garden/participate in a community garden - ideas for options?

  • Look for ways to overlap community gardens with other services/programs (i.e. have a garden in close proximity to other services)

  • Support people in having small scale gardens (i.e. balcony, vertical gardens). South Riverdale CHC has a demonstration rooftop garden set up.

  • Making it easier for people to garden by bringing it closer to where they are. It can be incorporated right on to the front lawn of a community organization, for example.

  • Note about Equity – food banks are a piece of the food access picture, but other models like a community kitchen or a subsidized good food market (Food Share is making it easier to get these markets set up in Toronto) are good options as well, and are often less stigmatizing.

Participants shared:

  • Connecting people to other services (i.e. social services) in the community is also important


11. Teaching children about respect for the environment is an important aspect of sustainability, and may contribute to how children make decisions about the environment as they grow older. I firmly believe that this process should start while children are young. A large number of Child Care Centres are located in strip malls, where children have limited access to gardening. What do others think about having Child Care Centres located in 'safe environments' (geographically) which provide greenspace opportunities for children to grow their little gardens, and develop physical literacy at the same time?

  • With regard to engaging students in schools, when students and teachers are involved in the garden design process first – it builds up support for the idea.

  • If space is restrictive, might need to look at vertical gardens or gardening indoors (planting seedlings in the window and taking home)

  • In terms of child care centres in strip malls (may be a health impact when located near a busy road).

12. How can schools be supported to provide healthy options for students and contribute to the food security issues in the larger community?

  • Paul is working with Toronto Public Health to show students where food is located in their neighborhood (as well as recreation resources). Teachers have a toolkit to incorporate this map into their class lessons/curriculum. Into Kids Health

  • At South Riverdale CHC Paul assisted schools in designing and planning gardens, and getting commitment from principals and teachers to support the garden (schools don’t often have resources to initiate this process).

  • Evergreen Learning Grounds – has resources and dollars for school ground greening programs (including gardens).

  • The Good Food Café (Food Share) – looks at how cafeteria food can be made healthier.

Participants shared:

  • In our community, the high school construction classes build all of the plots for the community gardens/ greenhouse. The Local Food Co-Op has a plot in their greenhouse that they provide for free to schools who do not have school gardens. Connections to other organizations can be key. www.cloverbeltlocalfoodcoop.com

  • The Ministry of Education does incorporate well-being (including physical literacy) in their How Does Learning Happen - Ontario's Pedagogy for the Early Years. NRC was involved in consulting with the Ministry of Education on how to incorporate Food literacy in to this document as well.

  • The tower garden/ vertical aeroponics approach has always looked interesting. A high school in Toronto has used them, good for areas with limited space.

  • Student Nutrition Program supports schools to provide healthy foods to students.

  • Interesting stuff happening with vertical hydroponics happening in the far north too. This is a fun story (one of many) http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/naujaat-nunavut-growing-north-project-1.3633295

13. In Canada, over 6 million tonnes of food that is perfectly good, and wholesome to eat is thrown in the garbage every single year; Yet 1 in 8 homes struggle to put enough food in the table. What models have you encountered that reduces food waste while improving food security and food access?

  • Second Harvest – Food rescue matching. Electronic app to connect consumers to food. If you’re running a business that has food that will expire, this app helps you connect.

  • South Riverdale CHC – has relationship with some bakeries – provides bread at the end of the day.

  • Important to build relationships between agencies and local food providers.

  • Urban fruit harvesting programs - Not far from the Tree

Participants shared:

For more resources on this topic, please see our Resource Sheet that was prepared for this online discussion.

 

 

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