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 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.
Healthy Archuleta is sharing individual profiles of CLLC community members who are serving their community in this capacity. This week we are featuring CLLC member and community leader Stacia Aragon.
1. Health is the new wealth. What does that mean for you and your family’s health in Archuleta County? “Every day that I wake up, I have so many things to be grateful for, and one of these is my health. For me, taking the best care of myself, whether that be exercising, choosing nutritious foods to eat, receiving proper health care, are all done so that I can be the healthiest version of myself. By doing these things, I am able to give to my family, friends and my community. I am always looking for opportunities to share with others the importance of taking care of our bodies.”
2. What are your ties to Archuleta County? “First and foremost is my family. I am blessed beyond measure to have my children, grandchildren and in-laws here. My husband and I left Pagosa for a little over a decade, never thinking that we would move back here, but when we did move back, I could never picture us being anywhere but here. I love the small family feel and knowing so many people and I really believe we live in one of the most beautiful parts of Colorado.”
3. What do you see as your role on the CLLC for the Nutrition Security and Health Equity Assessment? “My role on the CLLC for Nutrition Security and Health Equity Assessment allows me to look for areas that can be improved in our community in both Nutrition Security and Health Equity. I am privileged to work alongside some other amazing like minded people. When I joined this committee, I came with a very open mind to learn as much as I could about these areas in Archuleta County. My eyes have been opened to some great need, and I now realize that I have the ability to be involved in changes that can dramatically help others in my community.”
4. What is your vision for a healthy Archuleta? “Healthy Archuleta is an amazing organization that has already implemented some wonderful programs in our community that have made a huge impact on lives in this community. It would be amazing to see more people get involved in this organization, bringing their skill sets that can make a difference in the life of someone in need.”
5. What do you think is critical about the dynamics of learning and leading on the CLLC for this assessment? “Each person on this committee brings a different skill set and different life experiences. Knowledge is valuable and what better way to get it than listening to the people who are sitting at the same table with you. I ask a lot of questions and I listen as well. Everyone on this CLLC brings something special to the table, and my life has been greatly enriched in the short time that I have had the opportunity to work with them.”