This past summer, Mayor Tyra-Lukens, Parks and Recreation Director Jay Lotthammer and I were approached by leaders of the Twin Cities Obesity Prevention Coalition. Their mission is to provide leadership in mobilizing a community based coalition of organizations, physicians and individuals who are committed to improving public health by advocating for healthy eating and active living strategies in metro area communites. We felt that this philosophy fits well in our City, so we agreed to pursue a program that begins with the passage of a resolution of committment at the City Council level.
At that meeting we highlighted one of the partnerships we have with the Eden Prairie School District that began this past summer. That project is the construction of our first “edible playground” at Prairie View Elementary to teach children how food is produced and inspire kids to eat healthy and nutritious food. This project was a major one that we highlighted in the resolution.
This same resolution also calls for establishing other processes to assess and improve existing local active living programs. For example, another initiative that we could develop would be to implement a healthy vending machine and concessions policy for all city operated concessions in our facilities and parks. Another would be to continue to expand programs like edible playgrounds and community gardens- but also to explore new programs such as the creation of local farmers’ markets.
I noticed in our local paper that there were a few letters to the editor applauding the City Council for taking action with the passage of the healthy eating and active living resolution. That support is nice to see and will be important moving forward.