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  • Michelle Contarino

Glassboro Food Hub - a 1-Stop Resource for Residents

Normal growth and development as well as physical health and mental well-being all rely on consumption of nutritious foods throughout all the stages of our lives. A diet that includes such items as fresh vegetables and fruits, lean meats, and healthy snacks can reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, strokes, and even some types of cancers. Coupled with exercise, eating nutritious foods can help to combat obesity, which is a significant risk factor for these chronic diseases.

Despite having this knowledge and wanting to take good care of ourselves, it is not always easy to access what we need for optimal health. Often, just finding local healthy and fresh food sources can be difficult. Sometimes we lack the time and energy it takes to prepare a nutritious meal after a long day of work. And, most importantly, the cost of buying foods that are not ultra-processed can be more than we are able to afford. It is a well-known fact that the Standard American Diet is taking its toll on the overall health and wellness of Americans, and it has been doing so for a long time.

We are fortunate that in Glassboro we have affordable, fresh, and nutritious food sources within our own community. And now, by accessing just one website, Glassboro residents can find exactly what they are looking for. The portal, Information Hub: Healthy and Affordable Food in Glassboro, provides a comprehensive, interactive story map on its digital hub that shares free data on local resources, some within walking distance of the most underserved neighborhoods, that includes locations, phone numbers, and operating hours of full-size and small grocery stores, convenience stores that sell fresh and healthy foods, and emergency food distribution centers such as food pantries, farms, and community gardens. There is even information about how to access food education and training programs for those who would like a better understanding of what foods provide the best nutrition.

This portal, which was created by a student intern of Rowan University’s Community Planning + Visualization Lab using data from multiple sources including a working group of members of the Glassboro Health Equity Coalition, is a ‘beta version’ that the project team will finalize after a series of community engagement activities take place over this summer. Until that time, the team is seeking input such as critiques, corrections, and any new data from users. While this portal is open to the whole community, it is most important to provide these resources to the low-income or food-insecure populations who need it most.

Perhaps you are looking to make changes in your dietary lifestyle but are not sure where to start. Maybe you were looking for access to free, fresh produce and were not sure where to find it. Or maybe you are just interested in seeing what the Glassboro Community is growing in their gardens this spring. Let the Information Hub be your guide. You are just one click away from a healthier and happier new you!

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