OPINION

Health and Wellness: What makes a town healthy

Ann Cochran - Dallas County Health Department
Special to Dallas County News and Perry Chief
Around 50 boxes were unloaded per week for Dallas Center’s Pop Up Produce distribution from July 1 to
Sep. 15, 2020.

Recently Dallas Center received an award as a Healthy Hometown at the Healthiest State Initiative ceremony. This included $5,000 from Wellmark toward the community’s work improving the physical, social and emotional health of those who live and work in Dallas Center. De Soto and Clive are also Healthy Hometown participants and Granger may be next.

What has Dallas Center done that may be replicated in other small towns? Making healthy foods more accessible is a key area for Healthy Hometown participants.

A grocery store in Dallas Center purposefully expanded its selection of fresh produce, even adding additional cooler space to accommodate more fruits and vegetables.

In cooperation with the Dallas Center-Grimes school system, six vegetable gardens are tended by third graders. Growing their own fresh vegetables has provided these students with a new appreciation of where food comes from and how to prepare it.

A third healthy food project for Dallas Center is hosting a Hunger Free Dallas County Pop-Up Produce stand that offers very low-cost fruits and vegetables to anyone.

Another Dallas Center Healthy Hometown initiative is a playground, parking lot and sidewalks that offer recreational space for all persons, including those with mobility challenges.

Read more about Dallas Center's Healthy Hometown award online.