Holly Gordon, an appointed member of the Pottawatomie County Food Policy Council, addressed City Commissioners this week, sharing the council's first recommendation.
Comprised of various stakeholders in the county, the council has been asked to identify and recommend to city government policy initiatives to support the goals and objectives of the council.
When the council was created about a year ago, it began to look at the food systems in the area.
“One of the goals was to look at where the pitfalls are, report them back to community leaders and make recommendations,” she said.
This week that council presented its first recommendation to the board.
City Commissioners were provided an opportunity to vote on a resolution that supports a healthy food environment for the City of Shawnee.
“This is in support of Shawnee's core values,” she said. What the council is asking for in this healthy food environment resolution is to make healthy food choices easy ones, Gordon said.
Some of the key points for backing the resolution, which was unanimously approved by the commission, are as follows:
• obesity increases risk for many types of diet-related chronic disease, including high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer
• changing policies and systems using evidence-based best practices and generally-accepted scientific principles to increase access to affordable, healthy food and creating healthier food environments are proven to be the most effective ways to reduce obesity and diet- related chronic diseases
• the City of Shawnee has made an investment in Blue Zones Project to create healthier food environments and increase access to and desire for healthy food choices where residents work, live, learn, and play
• the health of community members, healthcare, costs, worker productivity and impact on community prosperity are inter-connected
• Shawnee’s commitment to creating a healthy community attracts investment and a stronger workforce, making health an important foundation for the community’s future prosperity and vitality
• we are committed to the health and well-being of Shawnee, and we are committed to leaving a legacy of good health for future generations
“Let it be resolved that Shawnee City Commission hereby recognizes that food has a substantial impact on the health and well-being of our citizens and the economy of Shawnee,” the resolution reads. “In light of the foregoing findings, the Shawnee City Commission commits to doing all it can to increase access to and awareness of the healthy food environment in the community and ensure the economic vitality of Shawnee.”
To that end, the Shawnee City Commission is adopting the Healthy Food Environment Resolution to support and promote efforts of Blue Zones Project Pottawatomie County; encourage schools, worksites, restaurants, grocery stores, convenience stores, farmers markets, food pantries, and local, state and federal food assistance programs to emphasize healthy food choices; support the local healthy food infrastructure; consider healthy food-related policy and systems changes that advance community well-being; and communicate the benefits of healthy food environment to Shawnee citizens.