By Rose Chavez | Food System/Food Equity Coalition
The Archuleta County Nutrition Security and Health Equity Assessment that kicked off in December 2021 continues its ongoing work to engage the community through a Community Learning and Leadership Circle (CLLC) that meets on a weekly basis.
The CLLC is made up of a group of diverse Archuleta County community members who are committed to contributing to the design of the assessment during this first phase of the project, which will conclude at the end of June.
CLLC members engage in learning through module presentations facilitated by Healthy Archuleta and partner organizations about the concepts of nutrition security and health equity.
On a weekly basis, the CLLC members helped inform the assessment as it relates to 1) primary/preventive health care access and utilization (coverage, timeliness, workforce and services) and 2) bolstering our community-based food system (food production, food transformation, marketing and distribution, getting and preparing food, eating nutritious foods, food safety, food waste prevention, and resource recovery).
A community-based participatory approach is used to capture people’s voices and lived experiences related to access to food and primary/preventive health care in Archuleta County. Additionally, both food and health care organizations will have the opportunity to share information as it relates to primary/preventative health care and food efforts.
Healthy Archuleta is sharing individual profiles of CLLC community members who are serving their community in this capacity. This week we are featuring CLLC member and community leader Joline LeftHandBull.
1. Health is the new wealth. What does that mean for you and your family’s health in Archuleta County? “For me that means self care so I can take care of my family and community. For me it means taking care of myself so I can model and take care of others around me. For us, our family, we are trying to figure out if we can afford what it means to eat a healthy diet and be active on a daily basis. It is a matter of priorities. For me I define family as anyone that I am connected to on a regular basis because we are always interacting and those relationships are important and show how we are interconnected. We value those relationships in my indigenous culture and want to bring those folks closer in our circle since family and health goes beyond blood.”
2. What are your ties to Archuleta County? “My kids are going to school here. That is what brought me here and ties me to this community. Also over the past few years I have been involved with the work of Healthy Archuleta to make positive changes so that more community members can benefit from having access to fresh and nutritious foods.”
3. What do you see as your role on the CLLC for the Nutrition Security and Health Equity Assessment? “I see my role as using my voice and being involved in changes that will impact my kids and the community now and long into the future. I want my children and the next generation to be involved and take advantage of all the opportunities to be healthy in Archuleta County. I also see my role as learning and asking questions to be able to make changes in the community so that everyone can benefit. Sharing my lived experience and knowledge and also hearing and learning from others experiences around the issues we are discussing in this community has been really integral to the CLLC process. Sharing knowledge and skills is helpful to others so we can collectively excel and be healthy together.”
4. What is your vision for a healthy Archuleta? “Having a space and room for dialogue in our community to support community members’ diverse ideas and creativity is my vision so that we can create more leadership opportunities, events, and gatherings around being healthy. I also want that vision to include helping the next generation to be involved and value working with a diverse group of people no matter their age, skin color, politics or the language they speak. I think also centering Indigenous and Hispanic knowledge will also provide a restorative framework for health that is accessible for everyone. Ultimately, we are all trying to do the same for our families and move our community forward. There are many of us that want to be change makers for our children so that they can be more successful and overcome barriers that have been stumbling blocks for many generations.”
5. What do you think is critical about the dynamics of learning and leading on the CLLC for this assessment? “Learning… the knowledge, the working, the phrasing, the ideas… how everything and all the people put in a lot of effort to this point every week since January. Just coming together with other community members that live different lifestyles than you but have similar values is amazing, motivating and uplifting to hear different perspectives each week. Finding solutions is easier when you have a variety of perspectives to work with. Having open minds, being positive. Having everyone at the table is powerful. This is optional but everyone shows up every week because this is important. This makes you feel valued as a human being and as a community member. Knowing that you are there on a weekly basis matters to the group participation. It is like a refinement of ideas. It is an intensive time every week and respectfully taking in everything that is being presented to us in that time and working together to accomplish in a timely manner is a worthy challenge for our communities health now and is an investment in the future.”
For more information, please contact us at [email protected] or (401) 371-3227. To donate to support the work of Healthy Archuleta, please visit: https://www.foodcoalition4archuleta.org/donate.html.