Pioneering Healthier Communities: Seeking Youth Leader

— Written By

This year, Mecklenburg County 4-H and Family & Consumer Sciences are partnering to create an environment where youth and local farmers work together to create a map using GIS/GPS technology that can be implemented and posted publicly along CATS lines, near farmers markets, parks & green ways, and eventually posted online. Also, this project can potentially create a link for farmers to get rid of excess produce, as well as enhance awareness of the potential impact of gleaning.

This project is important to our county because, Mecklenburg County has a number of traditional and innovative transportation options. In 2010, the Urban Institute at UNC-Charlotte published a report regarding Mecklenburg County food deserts in collaboration with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Food Policy Council. As it stands, over 72,000 county residents lack access to healthy food choices. The report indicated that the populations most affected by this disparity are limited-resource populations. These populations often utilize public transportation to gain access to work, play and life’s necessary appointments. To date, no prominent exists between public and innovative transportation options and access to healthy food outlets, which reach all.

This project seeks to  engaging our state’s teens in advocacy for healthy food and physical activity access for all members of a given community; to reduce health inequity (differences in the health of individuals and groups of people because of where they reside or their social position – race, socio-economic status, etc.); and improve the health of the state’s citizens. The potential impact of this project allows us to engage teens in all of the aforementioned ways to impact citizens of Mecklenburg County.

By participating in this program, youth will learn about the following:

  1. Youth gain knowledge about the food system.
  2.  Youth begin working with GIS/GPS mapping using Maps and Apps experiment
  3.  Farmers will speak to youth to raise awareness of the necessity of this project, including possible impacts and current food system concerns.
  4. Youth begin to map layers utilizing GIS software.
  5. Youth will reach out to officials to gain support for bike share program and to have this map integrated into current public transportation avenues and appropriate locations throughout the city.

We are excited about this program. If you are interested in participating or even serving as a youth leader for this project please let us know!
Contact Racquel McNeil at ASAP for more information and an application packet.

Follow link for details:
Pioneering Healthy Communities Grant: 4-H Youth Advisor Position Description