Spring is finally here, and it’s perfectly timed as we move forward on our ShapingNJ projects to get people walking, biking and eating healthy! Our program will encourage three towns – Bound Brook, Manville, and Somerville – to adopt “Complete Streets” and make their towns safer and friendlier for everyone who is on their streets and roads.
While the residents and visitors to these towns are out and about, we hope they’ll visit the local farmers’ market. We know that farmers’ markets are a great source for locally-grown, healthy produce, but people without access to private transportation may have a hard time getting to them. They can also be expensive.
Our campaign will include providing vouchers to the underserved to purchase healthy items at the farmers’ markets; nutrition workshops targeted to specific market segments; health fairs to kick off each farmers’ market opening with family activities and nutrition information; and brochures that offer targeted nutrition information (English and Spanish). EmPoWER Somerset and Zufall Health will develop the workshops and brochures and use their experience to support the individuals and organizations who manage the markets, since they are usually not health professionals. RideWise TMA is taking the lead on moving the adoption of “Complete Streets. forward”
We’re partnering with the local elected officials and Boards of Health in our three towns to get both of these projects underway. Our partners in the grant are meeting with additional partners as well, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Somerset County Food Bank Network, and the Emmanuel Episcopal Church.
We could not accomplish our goals without support from our key partners:
- EmPoWER Somerset: EmPoWER Somerset assists individuals and families in making positive lifestyle choices and fosters healthy, drug free communities through education, collaboration, and linkages to resources.
- RideWise TMA: RideWise is one of New Jersey’s eight designated transportation management associations (TMA). The agency’s mission is to develop sustainable travel alternatives that help to improve mobility, reduce traffic and decrease carbon emissions. A key goal of RideWise is to promote efficient transportation through carpools, vanpools, shuttle services, bicycling and walking. Where transportation infrastructure is designed to accommodate or even encourage non-motorized transportation, such as through Complete Streets policies, it can have a positive effect on public health. Complete streets and land use strategies that consider health can help increase physical activity, improve accessibility and safety, and ease congestion and air pollution.
- Zufall Health: Zufall Health is the medical and dental home for the underserved with sites in north, west, and central New Jersey. A fully licensed, Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), Zufall Health provides high-quality, affordable, compassionate medical and dental care to patients in Dover, Morristown, Hackettstown, Flemington, Somerville, West Orange, and on its Highlands Health Van.
- Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset is a 965-bed academic medical center with campuses in New Brunswick and Somerville. It is the core hospital of the Robert Wood Johnson Health System; the principal teaching hospital for Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School; the flagship hospital for Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey; and New Jersey’s only pediatric academic health campus. RWJ Somerset is the convener of Healthier Somerset.
- Middle-Brook Regional Health Commission (MBRHC) provides public health services to five towns in Somerset County: Bound Brook, Green Brook, South Bound Brook, Warren, and Watchung. Middle-Brook Regional Health Commission (MBRHC) has provided residents and business owners with quality public health services for over 40 years. With a Vision of Healthy People and Places..A Healthy Community, their mission is to improve the health of our community and environment through the use of prevention services, health promotion and protection strategies. This is achieved through the use of preventive services, health promotion and protection strategies, and inspection and enforcement activities.
- Somerset County Department of Health: Somerset County Department of Health (SCDOH) is the flagship Health Department serving Somerset County. SCDOH is the largest health department, and the umbrella public health agency for specialized technical and professional public health services throughout Somerset County. Somerset County Department of Health is the Contracting Health Agency for Bedminster, Far Hills, Franklin Township, Manville, North Plainfield, Raritan, Rocky Hill, and Somerville.