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Community Wellness Projects

Our Community Wellness Projects respond to the unmet needs of our community. NCO identifies issues through the development of a community action plan, then looks at ways to successfully implement change. Much of what we do involves program development, partnerships, and collaboration, and many of our projects revolve around creating access to food.

Who We Serve: We assist low-income families and the community at large.

How We Operate: For years, NCO has been developing a wide array of grassroots programming to assist low-income families, helping them meet their basic needs in healthy sustainable ways by integrating economic development, leveraging scarce resources, and nurturing self sufficiency.

How Many People We Serve: The Community Wellness Projects serve approximately 1,800 people a year.

What We’ve Accomplished:

Some positive outcomes of our efforts are described below:

Why Is NCO Involved in the Local Food Movement?

The history of NCOs involvement in the local food movement started in the year 2005, with a Community Needs Assessment Survey. Community members reported concerns about health, obesity and diabetes; health care costs; access to healthy foods; economic concerns and lack of jobs; food security; lack of cooking skills; and disaster preparedness. These are all big issues, and we wondered, “What could we do that would have an impact?” People were struggling to make ends meet, often the cheapest foods are the unhealthiest, and we wanted to reduce the costs of health care.

As our committee talked, we began to develop strategies. Could we reduce health care costs through prevention? Some poor health is lifestyle-related, and by encouraging people to stay as healthy as possible, could we prevent some illness? We decided to promote programs that create access to affordable, healthy food. Our farmers produce amazing quality vegetables locally; but they are small farmers, and without the benefit of any farm subsidies they need to charge the true cost of production. Many families simply can’t afford fresh fruits and vegetables, and some families no longer know how to cook from scratch with core ingredients.

We knew community gardens could provide access to healthy food. At the same time, they provide opportunities for exercise and bring people together in ways that strengthen community (both healthy endeavors). By supporting small farmers and helping to “grow” more farmers, we could also have an impact on job creation.

Today, along with our partners, North Coast Opportunities brings community resources together to encourage health and hope. We’ve created a structure that develops both individual- and community-level food self-reliance while addressing the needs of high-risk, low-income people through education about nutrition, cooking skills, income-patching with value-added foods, and micro-enterprise opportunities.

Program(s) Involved: Mendo Lake Food Hub The Gardens Project Nutrition Basics