PHOTO: Chris Fredericks and his family, courtesy of Healthy Archuleta.
The Archuleta County Food Safety and Health Equity Assessment, which began in December 2021, continues its ongoing community engagement work through the Community Learning and Leadership Circle (CLLC), which meets weekly. The CLLC is made up of a diverse group of Archuleta County community members who are ready to contribute to the development of the assessment in the first phase of the project, which will end at the end of June 2022. CLLC members participate in learning through the presentation module of Healthy Archuleta and partner organizations on the concepts of food security and health equity.
On a weekly basis, CLLC members helped inform the assessment as it relates to 1) access to and use of primary/preventive health care (coverage, timeliness, workforce and services) and 2) strengthening our community food system (food production, food processing). products, marketing and distribution, food production and preparation, eating nutritious foods, food safety, food waste prevention and resource recovery). A participatory approach is used to capture people’s voices and experiences related to access to food and primary/preventive care in Archuleta County. In addition, both food and health organizations will be able to share information related to primary/preventive health care and food efforts.
Healthy Archuleta shares individual profiles of CLLC community members who serve their community in this capacity. This week we’re introducing CLLC member and community leader Chris Fredericks:
1. Health is the new wealth. What does this mean for you and your family’s health in Archuleta County? “Wealth is linked to education, and those who have access to all types of education are better equipped to know what to eat and how to eat. As a farmer and educator, I have tried to fight the idea that locally produced and organically grown produce is more expensive. It should be for small producers to earn a living wage. Typically, this means healthy food has to go through a different channel, with more hurdles, to get on the plates of low-income families. It is important to have good food and food that reflects your culture. Large grocery stores are unable to provide culturally significant food for all consumers. Small producers can supply both, but tend to sell their produce at farmers’ markets, restaurants, or through CSA members, which is a more expensive way to eat. Eating healthy food requires sacrifice, and some simply can’t make those sacrifices without help.”
2. What are your ties to Archuleta County? “Our family recently moved to Archuleta County, but both my wife and I are multi-generational Colorados. We both had a lifelong love of the mountains. We really want to move our farm to Archuleta County. We believe that this lifestyle is good for our children, and we intend to contribute to the development of the community in a positive way.
3. How do you see your role in the CLLC on assessing food security and health equity? “I am a member of the Archuleta County community. My experience in teaching, farming, and public service will help me get this point across to the group. I hope that as we gather input from the community and take action to improve the food system, these perspectives will be helpful. Democracy works best when many people with different views work together for a better future. I think we have it in CLLC.
4. What is your vision for a healthy Archuleta? “I would like to see a more diverse set of producers. If there were more farmers and producers with a variety of skills, we could move closer to building a more sustainable local food system. I would like to see an influx of young producers and a closer connection between them and the producers of the generation. With more locally produced food, we could begin a significant move towards a more equitable food system. This area has several different populations with a history that could work together to improve the health of Archuleta County. I’m optimistic that this can happen.”
5. What do you think is important about the learning and leadership dynamics at CLLC for this assessment? “I think it’s important for leaders to model learning as well. I hope our group tends to listen to each other. If each of us expands our understanding of different life experiences, we will have a better chance of creating a more equitable food system.”
Rose Chavez is a Public Health Consultant at the Archuleta Food System/Food Equity Coalition.