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Glassboro Health Equity Coalition meets virtually to generate and propose project ideas for Phase II

Professor Melanie Stewart
Professor Melanie Stewart

On March 26, the Glassboro Health Equity Coalition convened virtually to discuss project ideas for Phase II of the Glassboro Food and Health Equity Project.

The community coalition—a combination of both organizational and community members—met for about an hour and half, where it began by splitting their 12 attending members into three different Zoom breakout rooms for 20 minutes to brainstorm potential project ideas that would advance food and health equity in Glassboro.

Each group gauged the immediate food and health needs of the Glassboro community and came up with a number of possible solutions to address inequities.

When the breakout rooms dissolved, the coalition came together and presented and discussed each group’s ideas.

With limited time and resources, it is the duty of the coalition to come up with time- and resource-effective projects that optimally advance food and health equity.

Many of the coalition’s ideas addressed issues such as accessibility to nutritious food, social stigma surrounding food insecurity, and ridding of antiquated local policies that make it harder for Glassboro residents to produce nutritious food at home.

The group has proved successful in working together in the past, evidenced by its “Glassboro Grows” Phase I project that aims at teaching participants with limited access to food in high-poverty areas how to grow healthy and affordable food in their own living spaces.

Melanie Stewart, chair of the coalition and co-Chair of Creative Glassboro, says the selection of a Phase II project is the highest priority at this point.

Since the coalition’s beginning, it has identified new members, which Stewart says allowed for a better representation of the community and its business sector.

Stewart says, “more investment at the table” and continued community support is the key to success in identifying and executing an optimal Phase II project.

“Since the coalition will be selecting the project, that gives way for them to be more directly involved and to care more about its success,” says Stewart. “When you have an idea that is democratically selected, you naturally have more buy-in.”

The coalition is currently working on hashing out a list of eight ideas generated from the meeting and hopes to soon have a single focus chosen so members can start researching, establishing necessary partnerships, and can begin to garner all necessary resources to get started.

For more information on the coalition and the Glassboro Food and Healthy Equity Project, administered by a team of researchers at Rowan University, check out their web site.

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