#Walking Wednesday Greater Lansing Food Bank Resource Center


This week’s Walking Wednesday took us to the Garden Resource Center with Julie Lehman, Garden Program Coordinator of the Greater Lansing Food Bank.

The Garden Project is one of its programs and the Resource Center is its hub.  When we visited on Wednesday it was full of neighbors picking up seeds, gardening information, starter plants, and food.  There were volunteers everywhere running the operation and working in the gardens.



2401 Marcus St. Lansing, MI 48912

2401 Marcus St. Lansing, MI 48912

The facility is tucked into the south end of Foster Park Foster Park map(C on the map below–A is the Foster Community Center).




From the Resource Center you can see the traffic on both 127 to the East and 496 to the South, yet you are surrounded by green space and large community garden/urban farm projects.

Community gardens and home gardeners can register with the garden program and find a community of growers and support for their efforts.







Just southwest of the Resource Center is the UrbandaleFarm.    Urbandale

Amazing the difference a sign makes!

Amazing the difference a sign makes!








If you’re interested in home gardening, urban gardening, food access, healthy living/eating, or just meeting people who are thinking about these things are creating them in your community, stop in at the Resource Center and learn more.  Of course, donate to the Greater Lansing Food Bank to continue their support of these programs and services as we work together to eliminate hunger in our community.  Thank you Julie for your hospitality and we look forward to seeing the bounty of these gardens all summer long!




#WalkingWednesday features Wexford Montessori School & Davis Park


Walking Wednesday headed to SW Lansing this week to tour the Wexford Montessori K-8 school and the new paved trail that connects Waverly Rd east to Davis Park.

A huge thank you to Mr. Eric Royston of Wexford for his informative tour of the Montessori program.  Wexford Montessori is one of only approx 150 public Montessori schools in the United States.  The school is partnering with several organizations to enhance its offerings including a relationship with Lansing Parks and Recreation to build an incredible outdoor learning environment for student exploration.  We heard a song from some young students and saw their learning environments which included cool tables like the one pictured that allow for students to spread out and work in teams.  What a treasure in our Lansing School District serving primarily students from the surrounding SW Lansing neighborhoods.












We toured the neighborhood south of Wexford Elementary and headed to the newly opened paved trail, which is accessible at the south end of Wexford Ave.  Kris Klein of the South Lansing Community Development Association talked about the development of the trail and how it now connects throughout Lansing’s South Side allowing residents to commute downtown.  We headed East past the Harry Hill campus which houses Lansing School District offices, Lansing Police Department personnel and the Schmidt Community Center.  We continued onto Davis Park which has a beautifully paved trail around the perimeter of the park, newly renovated ball parks & restroom facilities, excellent basketball courts & playgrounds.

#WalkingWednesday takes a 2 week break and will resume on 1/7.  Best wishes for a healthy & joyful holiday season.

The park sign says "Fun for All Ages"  This is my mom!!

The park sign says “Fun for All Ages” This is my mom!!

Beautiful playground facilities!

Beautiful playground facilities!

Beautifully paved trails make for easy walking &biking.

Beautifully paved trails make for easy walking &biking.

Muskegon, MI on the Road to Wellville


I had the opportunity to meet with leaders from the Muskegon County Health Dept., the YMCA of Muskegon, and Mercy Health to discuss the ongoing efforts to build a healthy community.  I learned about the 1 in 21 project http://1in21.org/ to move the county to the top of the state health rankings by 2021 and the infusion of new energy by being awarded the Way to Wellville Challenge http://www.forbes.com/sites/robwaters/2014/08/18/how-healthy-can-they-get-five-american-towns-chosen-as-contestants-in-five-year-way-to-wellville-challenge/  I love hearing about business leaders who believe a healthy community is vital to academic success and economic development.

This is an exciting opportunity to build a healthier community and I’m looking forward to being a part of the process!!

I also met with YMCA CEO Bruce Spoelman & toured the YMCA of Muskegon http://muskegonymca.org/ and the beautiful lakefront property it occupies.  Plans are underway to create even more programming and member opportunities to use the lakefront and be part of the resurgence of this downtown location.  Great stuff happening!!

Beautiful inlet surrounding the Y with walking trails and benches.

Beautiful inlet surrounding the Y with walking trails and benches.

View of the lake from inside the wellness facility.  Great deck for post-workout sun & stretch!  I'd love to teach a yoga class there!!

View of the lake from inside the wellness facility. Great deck for post-workout sun & stretch! I’d love to teach a yoga class there!!

Sailboats still moored late  in the season--hope they can sneak in a few more outings to enjoy the fall color by water!

Sailboats still moored late in the season–hope they can sneak in a few more outings to enjoy the fall color by water!

Building a Culture of Health in Mid-Michigan

Signage at the Foster Community Center

Signage at the Foster Community Center

Healthy Community Asset Wayfinding on the Eastside

Healthy Community Asset Wayfinding on the Eastside

I’m excited to be back home in Lansing, MI working to create a culture of health in my home community.  I left Lansing 5 years ago to pursue an amazing professional opportunity with the YMCA of Broward County in South Florida.  I learned a great deal about building healthy communities at the local, state, and national level.  I’m excited to return home and be part of the exciting work that is happening in Lansing to build healthy systems for food, transportation, and housing that support healthy communities and economic development (which go hand-in-hand).

Above are some great examples of how leaders are communicating the health message.  These are just a few of many as the region continues its revitalization efforts.  I post many I find on Twitter @andicrawford.  Please add to the conversation using #healthycommunities or #cultureofhealth.  I’d love to connect with you.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation leads the national conversation and foundation investment in building healthy communities.  Great information about building a Culture of Health is available at the link, below is an excerpt.


What Does Culture Of Health Mean To You?

It may mean having easy and affordable access to health care. It may mean creating neighborhoods where moms can feel comfortable letting their kids walk to school, play outside, and go to a nearby grocery store stocked with fresh and healthy choices. It may mean providing an elder with the helping hands she needs to remain in her home. Or it may mean living in a community where policy-makers, civic leaders, educators, employers, and residents work together to make the health of their entire community a priority.There is no single definition, which means when America ultimately achieves a Culture of Health it will be as multifaceted as the population it serves.

We believe an American Culture of Health is one in which:

  1. Good health flourishes across geographic, demographic and social sectors.
  2. Being healthy and staying healthy is valued by our entire society.
  3. Individuals and families have the means and the opportunity to make choices that lead to healthy lifestyles.
  4. Business, government, individuals, and organizations work together to foster healthy communities and lifestyles.
  5. Everyone has access to affordable, quality health care.
  6. No one is excluded.
  7. Health care is efficient and equitable.
  8. The economy is less burdened by excessive and unwarranted health care spending.
  9. The health of the population guides public and private decision-making.
  10. Americans understand that we are all in this together.

Celebrating Healthy Kids with FLOTUS & Amy Poehler


I was proud to represent YUSA at an event with First Lady Michelle Obama to celebrate four years of the “Let’s Move” campaign.  Mrs. Obama was joined onstage by actor/comedian Amy Poehler as a fun tie-in to the major announcement made by the National Recreation and Park Association and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.  Both organizations have signed on with the Partnership for a Healthier America to commit to healthy out of school guidelines.  Mrs. Obama recognized the Y as the pioneering organization to develop stringent Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (#HEPA) standards several years ago and welcomed these two additional partners.  Between the Y, parks, and the Boys and Girls Club, over 5 million children are served through afterschool programs across the country.    By improving the health of these environments, we build healthier children.  Learn more about the origins and requirements of the Y’s HEPA standards:


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Heading to Memphis


I’m off to Memphis, TN for the YUSA Healthy Communities Learning Institute.  I’m looking forward to learning from communities across the country who are creating healthy policy, system, and environmental changes.  I’ll be giving a talk on Friday morning on Communication Strategies for Building Healthier Communities.  Looking forward to some exciting site visits to Memphis communities who are making healthy happen.  If you’re a part of this conference, I’d love to meet you.  Contact me on Twitter @andicrawford

Lauderhill Students Continue to Create Change


As the summer concludes, the Lauderhill Y teens continue to make progress on their community action plan.  Over 50 Lauderhill teens spent their summer at the Y in the Teen Leadership Institute engaging in a variety of activities including meeting numerous times with FIU professors and city leaders to continue their Art of Community project with funding from the Community Foundation of Broward.  This fall, a full scale public art project will be installed around the Overpath, creating a community gathering place where once there was high crime and unsafe conditions. The teens were featured in the Sun Sentinel for their leadership and continued progress towards their goals.  We are so proud to work on behalf of these students.


Lauderhill Students Welcome the Country to Broward



It was a packed week of conferences, policy roundtables, and trainings.

A highlight was the  PHC/REACH conference and the Lauderhill tour and student panel.  Follow more highlights at http://www.livewelllauderhill.wordpress.com