By Dr. Ferrell Miller
Susan Jagerson, Director and Grant Coordinator of Live Well Geary County and Kalli Brownlee, WIC (Women, Infants and Children) Director, and Farmer’s Marker Manager, were guest speakers at the weekly JC Breakfast Optimist Club meeting in Junction City.
Jagerson shared that “Live Well Geary County (LWGC) is developing dynamic, community-based strategies to improve the health of residents. LWGC was founded in response to a call for county-wide coordinated action among health and wellness stakeholders. Together we work to close the gaps in services and resources so there are healthy choices where residents live, learn, work and play.”
Jagerson also shared some statistics about Geary County. “Geary County is one of the least healthy counties in Kansas but is making improvements. Twenty-four years is the average age of the population in the county; there is 11.7% poverty; 34.5% are enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); there is a 39% obesity rate and there is limited access to grocery stores where quality/healthy foods may be purchased.”
The LWGC Food Policy Council received a Pathways implementation grant to engage New Venture Advisors in developing a Food System Plan for the county. The 10-year plan provides a comprehensive approach to food system efforts – identifying policy solutions that influence how food is produced and consumed.
LWGC has partnered with the 12th Street Community Center, Delivering Change, the Dorothy Bramlage Public Library, I.C.A.R.E, the City of Junction City, Geary County, faith-based organizations and others. “An example of one of those partnerships include the 12th St. Community Garden managed by Vicky Bobbitt and the I.C.A.R.E. organization, which also works with Jobs For America’s Graduates (JAG) and the Bicentennial Manor. For $350 the public can Adopt A Bed in the 12th St. Community Vegetable Garden, which can be maintained by the adoptee or a designee”, Jagerson said.
Jagerson also told the Optimists that “85-100 meals are served to seniors on Mondays at the Larry Dixon Center on West Sixth Street. The meals may be as a dine-in, carry-out or delivered.”
Kalli Brownlee stated that “the Farmer’s Market is held every Thursday from 4-7:00 PM in the JC Naz parking lot on South Washington Street. Vendors set up to sell healthy foods and vegetables. The SNAP program is in place for those who are eligible.” Kalli and others have recipes available and recommendations on how to cook with and use the fresh fruits and vegetables, so the items are used in a timely and healthy manner.