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AHA improves the health and well-being of Wake County residents by facilitating and supporting community initiatives.

Perspectives: January 2013

AHA Director Sheree Vodicka

AHA Director Sheree Vodicka

Winter and January are here, and boy, are we off to a running start to a new year!

AHA’s Strategic Plan is done, and now we are moving into Phase II – and that entails re-structuring AHA to streamline our operations and strengthen our partnerships with you – our members. More information coming on that soon.

In the meantime, here’s a snapshot of how Michele and I, and many of our partners, are spending our days this winter.

Access to Healthy, Local Food

AHA is hosting an event at the end of January as a follow-up to November 2011’s Connecting the Dots: Creating a Local Food System in Wake County, which was a workshop to start discussions among farmers/growers and buyers. This year’s invitation-only event, 10 + 10: Growers Meeting Buyers, brings together 10 farmers and 10 potential buyers for an evening of “speed dating.” 10 + 10 is being co-hosted by AHA, the Center for Environmental Farm Systems and Carolina Farm Stewardship Association. We hope it will result in more local food showing up on more people’s plates.

AHA, Wake County Cooperative Extension and Wake County SmartStart have completed a survey of child care centers and interviews with farmers in and near Wake County to learn more about how these businesses work and how we might get more local food served for lunch and snacks for the youngest children in Wake County who spend their day at child care facilities. More to come on that next month.

AHA is working with our partners Cooperative Extension and Wake County Human Services on marketing materials for the farmers’ markets in Fuquay-Varina and Wendell, where EBT benefits will be available this Spring when the markets open.

We also hosted a successful meeting with the local farmers’ market managers in December to connect them for networking and sharing of resources and will do so again in February.

Dig In! is coming March 9th. We are busy planning a great event that we hope will draw elected officials and city planners, advocates for community and school gardens, and local food enthusiasts. Look for the “Save the Date” in the coming week or so. Please help us spread the word!

Physical Activity Access and Schools

AHA convened a meeting with the YMCA of the Triangle, the American League of Bicyclists and Wake County Public Schools to establish a way for kids to get bicycle safety training. AHA also attended the first meeting of a group looking at child pedestrian safety in Wake County. We will be actively working with this group in the coming year. And we are meeting with the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization to learn more about our 12 municipality’s comprehensive plans.

We just completed our third Brains and Bodies Workshop on Safe Routes to School with about 30 attendees, and we are now accepting applications for the 2013 Brains and Bodies Awards. We’re excited that high schools this year, as well as elementary and middle schools, can apply. We’ll be working with the schools who apply to provide technical assistance as we switch to the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s inventory tool—loads of great resources to help schools manage their wellness program.

Regional Reach

We have a new work group in Eastern Wake County – aptly called, Eastern Wake AHA. We’ve had meetings to map assets with them, and they are now planning to work toward achieving recognition through the Let’s Move Cities, Towns and Counties effort. We are meeting with Fuquay-Varina, Holly Springs and Angier to plan asset mapping for their communities, and Western Wake AHA completed asset mapping this month to set priorities for the coming year.

As you can see, there’s never a dull moment. 2013 found us brimming with new opportunities and challenges. We are so thankful to have you all working with us on these and other projects!

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