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Kenton County Plan4Health highlighted at national meeting

Posted on November 03, 2016
Kenton County’s Plan4Health Coalition was recognized recently at the American Planning Association’s (APA) Fall Leadership Meetings in Washington, DC. The meetings brought together chapter presidents and planners from across the country to learn about the latest topics in the field and plan for the future of the association.

James Fausz, AICP, a senior planner at PDS attended the meetings on behalf of the Kentucky Chapter of APA.

“I was pleasantly surprised to see work from our Plan4Health project presented by national APA staff to planners and chapter leaders as examples of high quality work,” Fausz said. “We know that we do good work for our communities, but it was exciting to see that work presented as an example for the rest of the country.”

The Kenton County Plan4Health project was a yearlong planning effort to increase access to nutritious food across the county. The program worked to achieve this goal through several efforts including building a better link between urban markets and rural food producers, focusing on corner stores in urban communities, and even hosting a healthy foods summit near the end of the program.

“From the start, the Kenton County team hit the ground running with a clear strategy for assessing the environment and taking a comprehensive look at the food system,” said Anna Ricklin, AICP, Manager of the Planning and Community Health Center for APA. “Their work and its results serve as excellent examples of what can happen when staff from public health and planning agencies come together with a united goal to support community needs.”

The Kenton County Plan4Health program was established by a $135,000 grant from APA via its partnership with the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The program was a collaborative effort and included professional staff from the Center for Great Neighborhoods of Covington, Inc., American Planning Association-Kentucky Chapter, Northern Kentucky Health Department, Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments (OKI), and PDS.

Regional ‘Food Summit’ to bring groups together on healthy food issues

Posted on March 04, 2016

Save the date Monday, March 28th! Eat Healthy NKY is holding a Food Summit at Turkey Foot Middle School from 3:00 to 8:00 PM showcasing healthy eating habits, local food production, and food preparation in our region.

“We’re really excited to be organizing this event,” said Michael Ionna, AICP, a PDS principal planner.  “Our guests can expect an open house with information booths covering a wide variety of topics important to our local food system—from production and distribution to consumption and food waste.”

The summit will cover several topics like how to eat healthy on the go, where to purchase local food, the benefits school and community gardens, and what is food policy and how can it improve our community’s quality of life. Speakers and panel discussions will be featured throughout the event.

“Attendees should plan on bringing their appetites,” explained Emi Randall, AICP, PDS’ director of planning and zoning. “Part of what we want people to see is that eating healthier can include eating delicious food. The cuisine provided will highlight food production in our region utilizing a variety of ingredients and products produced by local artisans and farmers.”

The event is also family friendly. A kids’ zone will be available from 5:00 to 8 PM and will feature a variety of fun activities including a seed starting booth hosted by the UK Agriculture Extension Office. Additionally, the Northern Kentucky Health Department’s mascot will be at the event and guests are encouraged to let the world know they are at the event!

“We have a full slate of events scheduled for the evening so no matter when you attend there will be something exciting going on,” Ionna continued. “Ultimately, the goal of the event is to reach as many people as possible and provide them with a positive experience where they can educate themselves about food system issues and of course, enjoy some tasty chow while doing so!”

Full details for the event and registration is available online at this Evenbrite.com webpage. Because of the large turnout expected, space is limited so make sure that you reserve your place by registering early.

The event is being sponsored by Eat Healthy NKY, an outreach campaign to educate members of the public about healthy food options. To learn more about this initiative, click here.

Website shows heathy progress across US and Kenton County

Posted on October 12, 2015

Work by PDS staff and its partnering organizations continues on Kenton County’s Plan4Health community grant. That work and its results are being made available on a new website that details the $135,000 awarded to the county’s partnering organizations by the American Planning Association with funds from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Awarded to a handful of communities across the country, Plan4Health aims to connect communities by funding work at the intersection of planning and public health. The Kenton County Plan4Health Coalition includes PDS, the Northern Kentucky Health Department, the Center for Great Neighborhoods of Covington, and OKI.

As called for in the group’s application, the various staffs are working to provide access to nutritious food across the county. Current efforts include a countywide assessment of food deserts—underserved neighborhoods with little or no access to healthy food due to mobility, availability, affordability, or a combination of the three. The assessment found a handful of underserved areas located in the urban areas of Kenton County.

Following this assessment, the partners’ work has focused on a corner store initiative that seeks to increase the supply and demand of nutritious food options in urban areas of the county. The program provides stores owners with a number of financial and marking incentives used to accommodate and market healthy food options to customers.

Incentives may include the provision of new equipment or retrofitting the existing layout of the store to accommodate healthy food options. The coalition is currently in the process of approaching targeted store locations and owners in the most underserved areas of the county.

Kenton County Plan4Health partners are excited to connect with community members. If you would like to learn more about the project and all coalitions participating in this initiative, check out the project website and join the national conversation by following #plan4health.


Collaboration begins implementation program for Plan4Health grant

Posted on July 09, 2015

Kenton County’s Direction 2030 comprehensive plan is the first to address the topic of health in a countywide planning document. Now, just months after the plan’s adoption, PDS staff is beginning to implement those health components. Like most PDS staff efforts, this is not being done alone.

Funded by a recent $135,000 grant from the American Planning Association (APA), the collaborative effort is working to provide access to nutritious food for those across the county who are unable to do so. The grant is being administered by the Kenton County Plan4Health Coalition (KCP4H) whose members include the Center for Great Neighborhoods of Covington, Inc.; the Northern Kentucky Health Department; the OKI Regional Council of Governments; and, Planning & Development Services of Kenton County.

KCP4H efforts will include a countywide assessment of underserved neighborhoods in addition to a series of actions addressing affordability of and access to healthy food. Using dollars that were appropriated originally by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Coalition will map all the county’s full-line grocery stores, locate neighborhoods with limited access to healthy foods, and work toward increasing the supply of fresh produce for residents in need.

“There’s no question that this initiative moves in directions not taken in the past by PDS,” said PDS Executive Director Dennis Gordon, FAICP. “An important point to remember, however, is that health issues were included in Direction 2030 because of input from Kenton County citizens. As we work to implement provisions of that plan, we’re also working to build a community as envisioned by those citizens.”

The foundation for more long-term efforts will also result from this grant project. KCP4H will work over a 12-month period (ending March 2016) to lay the groundwork for a countywide food policy council to ensure that healthy and accessible food efforts continue into the future.

APA’s Plan4Health grants are being made available to combat two determinants of chronic disease – lack of physical activity and lack of access to nutritious foods.  The program is being implemented in partnership with the American Public Health Association and represents a major new collaboration between planners and public health professionals. This is the first time that APA, via funding from the CDC, has offered grants to promote healthy living.