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Improving children's health

Partnering to Scale Up Food Security for Children and Families in San Rafael
Posted on Category Stories

Community Action Marin and the City of San Rafael were recently named one of just five national recipients of a $10,000 grant. The program, sponsored by Healthy Babies Bright Futures (HBBF) and the Mayor's Innovation Project, empowers city leaders to improve children’s health and reduce health disparities in communities by supporting efforts that decrease neurotoxic exposures.

Cities submitted proposals to scale up local efforts to support systematic change, responding specifically to needs heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic. From a strong pool of cities ranging from 32,000 to 250,000 in population, five city proposals were selected to receive grants along with technical assistance and an opportunity to present at a future Mayors Innovation Project meeting.

“Our city seeks to address food security for all people in San Rafael,” said Mayor Kate Colin. “We are very proud to partner with Community Action Marin as a part of the 2021 Healthy Babies Initiative to help scale and improve their organic Production Farm, which helps to meet the nutritional needs of children and families of low income.”

This grant will enable Community Action Marin to scale production at its Production Farm located at the Old Gallinas Children’s Center in San Rafael. The site serves as a resource for fresh, nutritious and organic produce for children attending daily preschool classes. “It gives children and families a place to play, learn, and grow while increasing food security,” said Monique Liebhard, Vice President of Children and Family Services. “We are thrilled to be able to strengthen our support of community through this work.”

“From COVID, to lead contamination, to food insecurity, and the racial and economic inequities present in each of these, cities and mayors around the country are under intense pressure to respond to these compounding crises,” said Katya Spear, Co-Managing Director of the Mayors Innovation Project. “This project offers an opportunity to support and lift up innovative local programs that will have real impacts on children’s health in both the short and long-term.” One out of six children in the United States suffer from a neurodevelopmental disability, and there is strong evidence that links chemical exposures to neurodevelopmental delays. Though exposures to chemicals that harm the brain—from drinking water, food, air, soil and consumer products—are not the sole cause for these lifelong learning and developmental delays, they are among the most preventable.

“This project helps to weave a net of resilience for the children in San Rafael,” said Kyra Naumoff Shields, HBBF’s Bright Cities Program Director. San Rafael’s project provides a scalable model ready for uptake by other US cities. But, the ultimate winners are the babies in our lives whose health—and opportunity for a fairer start in life—is dramatically improved.”

Read the official press release here.