PHD: Champaign-Urbana Public Health District 2:00-3:20 TR

Contact Information

Valerie Koress, WIC Nutritionist
201 W Kenyon Road, Champaign, IL 61820

Organization Mission 
C-UPHD's mission is to improve the health, safety and well-being of the community through prevention, education, collaboration, and regulation. C-UPHD serves the diverse population of Champaign County, including uninsured, underinsured, underserved, and low-income residents. This also includes a variety of ethnic backgrounds, including Caucasian, African American, Latino, as well as international members of the community.

Problems and/or Opportunities 
A major public health concern in Champaign County, and all over the country, is the growing epidemic of obesity and the lack of access to fresh, healthy food. C-UPHD has begun to address this issue by installing a community garden, primarily maintained by volunteers, and offering the produce at no cost to the individuals and families that utilize C-UPHD services.

We believe that concern for the environment and its resources is also a public health priority, and we would like to make more of an effort to address this issue in our community garden. In addition, we would like to be able to continue providing fresh produce into the winter months to maximize the impact we are having on the diets of our community members.

Solutions and Projects 
One thing we would like to see happen is to make the watering process more efficient. At this time, we simply have a hose hooked up to our building and we water with a rainbow sprinkler. With all of the technology available for conserving water while producing food, this is a very inefficient and outdated system. We envision installing rain barrels and an irrigation system that waters the garden beds directly and avoids wasting gallons of water on areas that do not need it.

To address the issue of supplying fresh food into the winter months, we would like to build cold frames.

For both of these projects, we would hope to use materials that are recycled and/or donated as our funds for this program are limited. For example, Home Depot's staff volunteer team installed a compost bin made from old pallets.

Additionally, we are always looking for ways to collaborate with other community organizations to make the biggest impact we can. At this time, we are looking to collaborate with Salt and Light to get volunteers from the community that would benefit from the garden not only from receiving the produce, but also from learning how the food is grown. Projects in the future could include preparing lessons and materials to teach people about various topics related to home food production, use, and storage.

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