Check out this update from the Idaho Plan4Health leadership team!
Boise’s Vista neighborhood is home to about 10,000 people and 4,000 households. It is a small geographic area, but is home to many vulnerable families, including seniors, children living at or below the poverty level, and New Americans (refugees and recent immigrants).
Boise’s Idaho Plan4Health Coalition — made up of members from the Idaho Chapter of the American Planning Association, Idaho Public Health Association, and the City of Boise — is an emerging coalition working to understand the food and nutrition landscape of the neighborhood, and to clearly identify actions and interventions that will change this landscape for the better.
The project is organized around assessing and improving five aspects of healthy eating and nutrition in the neighborhood: food security, food quality, food literacy, food access and infrastructure, and food culture.
The coalition’s work has revealed a complex web of existing services and infrastructure that can be built upon and strengthened — from the circle of faith-based organizations taking turns to offer free dinners every night of the week, to the “mobile farmer’s market” that arrives in the neighborhood every Monday afternoon during the summer, bringing fresh, locally grown produce to a crowd of kids and families.
The coalition’s work has also identified real barriers to healthy eating, such as Vista Boulevard, which bisects the neighborhood and complicates access to grocery stores for some families. Idaho Plan4Health is partnering with projects such as the Urban Land Institute’s Vista Corridor Study, the City of Boise’s Energize Our Neighborhoods initiative, and Let’s Move Boise to identify solutions to such barriers.
Leveraging the investment from APA to connect with partners ensures that efforts are complementary, not duplicative. It has also drawn in people and organizations that are ready to pick up where the funding leaves off, and to implement the recommendations of Idaho Plan4Health’s efforts.
The conversations started with Plan4Health will continue to influence community design long after the project has concluded. As Diane Kushlan, a planner and leadership team member, noted: “We [planners] continue to learn so much from our public health partners — the Plan4Health project has sparked new conversations and new ways to connect around the issues we care so much about.”
To learn more about the Plan4Health project in Vista, listen to Idaho Chapter President Daren Fluke:
Idaho Plan4Health will also be participating in APA’s upcoming Policy and Advocacy Conference. Check out the conference schedule to learn more about the sessions and activities — and how you can educate leaders about issues that matter to your community!
Image from Pixabay.