We were so excited to hear Representative Marcus Ricelli give a shout out to scratch cooking in discussing what he thinks are the most exciting developments in the move toward a healthier Washington. Check out the video courtesy of State of Reform to get the full picture of what Representative Ricelli is excited to work on via Governor Inslee's Healthiest Next Generation Initiative.
Update: Check out First Lady Inslee's Facebook post about her visit to Garfield Elementary!
First Lady Trudi Inslee came to Spokane on October 21st as part of Washington Nonprofits' Community Impact Project. Empire Health Foundation was honored to host Mrs. Inslee and showcase how two of Governor Inslee's signature health initiatives -- Healthiest Next Generation and Healthier Washington -- are being implemented locally.
Mrs. Inslee started the day at Garfield Elementary in Spokane Public Schools where she learned about Spokane Public Schools' effort to bring scratch cooking to eight of its elementary schools. At Garfield, Mrs. Inslee heard about how this launch built off of success in the Cheney School District under the leadership of their Superintendent Dr. Deb Clemens. Mrs. Inslee enjoyed a delicious meal with a smart and inquisitive group of sixth graders. A huge thanks to Garfield and Spokane Public Schools for hosting the First Lady.
In the afternoon, Mrs. Inslee joined with leaders of community nonprofits at the Philanthropy Center to discuss Eastern Washington's multi-sector efforts to achieve the Triple Aim of better health, better care at lower costs. A particular highlight was hearing from Better Health Together Community Health Worker Georgie Tarrant about her tireless work to connect chronically homeless and medical fragile members of our community to housing and other needed services.
Thanks to Washington Nonprofits for your leadership in this effort and Mrs. Inslee for coming to Spokane!
We are proud to help spread the word about one of the newest projects we are involved in: the Cascadia Foodshed Financing Project. A new collaborative formed through the Philanthropy Northwest network, the CFFP aims to grow the local food economy in Oregon and Washington. Take a look at this blog post by CFFP founder Tim Crosby to learn more about this new effort, or visit the project website.
We are pleased to align efforts with the Cascadia Foodshed Financing Project to help make healthy, local foods more accessible in our region. As many readers know, our Obesity Prevention Initiative was the first of our strategic grantmaking programs. Launched in 2011, the program has expanded to nine school districts in Eastern Washington, including our most recent partnership with Spokane Public Schools.
We were excited to find this article in the Washington Post detailing a step in the right direction for federally funded meal programs in adult and child day cares working toward healthier kitchens. The USDA has proposed changes to nutritional requirements for the Child and Adult Care Food Program, including eliminating reimbursements for grain-based desserts like cookies and cake, and no longer offering juice to children under 1 year of age. Nationwide, this program serves nearly 4 million people per year, so it is crucial that this system incentivizes day cares to provide healthy, wholesome food. According to one expert, "food choices people make in early childhood are the building blocks for the healthy habits of their lifetime,” which is why we have chosen to partner with school districts in our region convert to healthy scratch cooking as part of our obesity prevention work.
The USDA was also attentive to the need for these changes to be financially sustainable, proposing "requirements that wouldn't boost costs since providers won't be paid more." Sustainability is also a lynchpin of our work -- in fact, Cheney School District, our first obesity prevention partner, was able to achieve net positive financial results within the first two years of the scratch cooking program, making this a truly sustainable systems change!
You can download the entire Washington Post article here:
Our Grand Opening on Monday, June 15 gave us the opportunity to thank some of our key partners for moving the needle on a variety of initiatives. Without their patience, dedication, and tireless work toward transforming Eastern Washington into the state's healthiest region, we would not see the results in decreasing obesity, reducing uninsured, and increasing graduate medical education in Eastern Washington.