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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Healthy Archuleta provides update on Nutrition Security/Health Equity Assessment

Photo courtesy Healthy Archuleta
Members of the Community Learning and Leadership Circle have been meeting weekly to harvest vegetables being grown at the Vista Lake Community Garden, which are then donated to food pantries in Archuleta County.

Healthy Archuleta

Partner engagement: Healthy Archuleta held a gathering last week of the primary/preventative health care providers, including medical, mental health and dental services. 

This group included Pagosa Springs Medical Center, Pagosa Medical Group, Archuleta Integrative Health Care (Axis), Authentic Solutions Consulting, San Juan Basin Public Health and Aspire. Community members and county administrators also joined us. 

The purpose of the meeting was to share data collected from both health care providers and partner agencies regarding access and utilization of primary/preventative care services in our community. The group heard the presentation and acknowledged that health care providers are rarely in the same space to work together toward collaborative changes that may be needed to benefit our community. 

Those that attended were interested in continuing this effort. The outcome of this meeting was an interest in forming an advisory group from among the participants that would meet several times per year to discuss and implement solutions around primary/preventive health care access and utilization for residents of Archuleta County. 

Photovoice: Healthy Archuleta partners with GOAL High School to better understand nutrition security in the community through a food system approach. Recently, a facilitator training was held at GOAL High School, which also included teachers from Pagosa Springs High School. The training covered background on the assessment and the use of Photovoice as a method of information gathering. 

Photovoice uses photography to capture issues and solutions from the lens of the photographer. The information will then inform any new future projects and programs or the expansion of pre-existing ones depending on the emergent needs, issues and opportunities. The Photovoice project will allow the youth to add their voice and perspective to this collected information, which helps to create a more holistic view. 

Update on expanding food production 

It’s all about the harvest: Tomatoes, kale, zucchini, peppers, radishes, cilantro, spinach, stories and laughter -— that is what is being harvested at the Vista Lake Community Garden. Members of the Community Learning and Leadership Circle, known as the CLLC, have been meeting weekly on Wednesday evenings to harvest vegetables from the new garden. The harvest that has been collected is donated to the food pantries in Archuleta County via the Food Distribution Center. 

The group welcomes the community members who would also like to participate in the weekly harvesting. The CLLC has also been doing some weeding and will soon be putting the beds to rest for the season. 

Recently, the Vista Lakes Community Garden received three benches where people can enjoy this lovely space. The garden is in the process of receiving a greenhouse. The land is being leveled with a dirt foundation for that structure. There are also five fruit trees that will be planted soon, along with the construction of a shade structure in the center of the space over the newly received benches.

If you are looking to get involved in the garden, come join the CLLC members as they harvest kale, Swiss chard, peppers, cucumbers, microgreens and other vegetables that will be ready. Join in the fun. 

Supporting our youth: Healthy Archuleta partners with Pagosa Springs High School biology and agriculture teachers to bring guest speakers that can speak to agriculture and food production topics related to our community. Additionally, Healthy Archuleta is supporting the school grow dome to enhance production while engaging youth in better understanding the local food system.

Update on supporting our local food pantries

Food distribution center seeks resources: The six food pantries in Archuleta County continue to support our community through a food pantry network and receive support from Healthy Archuleta through the Food Distribution Center. We acknowledge and thank the local growers and producers, along with the many community donors who have donated fresh foods to our neighbors who visit the six food pantries in Archuleta County. 

As the weather gets cooler, there is a need for the donation of shelf-stable, nonperishable food items. Please contact us to see what our neighbors at the food pantries request for themselves and their families. Much gratitude for the continued support of our community.

Please contact Healthy Archuleta for more information on any of these efforts: fsfearchuleta@gmail.com, (401) 206-4579 or visit our www.foodcoalition4archuleta.org.

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