Healthy Archuleta features Community Learning and Leadership member Laurie Gutierrez

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By Rose Chavez | Food System/Food Equity Coalition

The Archuleta County Nutrition Security and Health Equity Assessment, which kicked off in December 2021, continues its ongoing work to engage the community through a Community Learning and Leadership Circle (CLLC) that meets on a weekly basis. 

The CLLC is made up of a group of diverse Archuleta County community members who are committed to contributing to the design of the assessment during this first phase of the project, which will conclude at the end of June. CLLC members engage in learning through module presentations facilitated by Healthy Archuleta and partner organizations about the concepts of nutrition security and health equity. 

On a weekly basis, the CLLC members identify questions as a result of their participation in these learning sessions. These questions are then used to help inform the assessment as it relates to 1) primary/preventive health care access and utilization (coverage, timeliness, workforce, and services) and 2) bolstering our community-based food system (food production, food transformation, marketing and distribution, getting and preparing food, eating nutritious foods, food safety, food waste prevention, and resource recovery). A community-based participatory approach will be used to capture people’s voices and lived experiences related to access to food and primary/preventive health care in Archuleta County. 

Additionally, both food and health care organizations will have the opportunity to share information as it relates to primary/preventative health care and food efforts. 

Starting this week, Healthy Archuleta will share individual profiles of CLLC community members who are serving their community in this capacity. This week we are featuring CLLC member and longtime community member Laurie Guitierrez:

1. Health is the new wealth. What does that mean for you and your family’s health in Archuleta County? “Health is the new wealth means that money is not the only reason for happiness. Health is fed by lifestyle, security, love and spirituality. Personally, my family and I find wealth in having a community where we are stable and safe. Where we have access to the food we want to eat, trails we want to hike and areas we can explore. Health is not always measured or compared to being wealthy. I have always considered myself rich, not in money but in culture, family and friends and in opportunity.”

 2. What are your ties to Archuleta County? “I am a multigenerational Pagosa native. I was born in Durango, Colo., like many of us Pagosa natives are. I have lived in the area for my whole life. I have tried to live in other places, but as the old saying goes, ‘There is no place like home.’ My mother, father, sister and brother and their families still live in the area. We are surrounded by our grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. My husband and I have raised our three daughters here in my hometown, because it is small, safe and we are surrounded by family and friends.”

3. What do you see as your role on the CLLC for the Nutrition Security and Health Equity Assessment? “My role for the Nutrition security and Health Equity Assessment is contributing my knowledge of the community and the resources as well as helping inform other members of the CLLC and the community partners with information that they may be unaware of. I bring my voice, cultural responsiveness and awareness as well.”

4. What is your vision for a Healthy Archuleta? “My vision for Healthy Archuleta is to include the community as a whole. I would like to see community members understand what Healthy Archuleta has to offer to them and participate in programs or opportunities that Healthy Archuleta offers.”

5. What do you think is critical about the dynamics of learning and leading on the CLLC for this assessment? “It is critical to have a variety of community members from different backgrounds, culture and economic status leading the CLLC and helping with the Assessment. This diversity of the CLLC will capture our community and better the outcome of the assessment.”

For more information about the health assessment, please contact us at fsfearchuleta@gmail.org or call (401) 371-3227. To donate to support the work of Healthy Archuleta, please visit our website, https://www.foodcoalition4archuleta.org/donate.html.