The Management Jackson County mission workforce is making a program to advertise wholesome meals decisions

Jackson County Health Project members, from left, Jake Brown, Rob Henley, Denise Connell and Joe Barnes, give their project presentation on May 20 at Pewter Hall in Brownstown. Zach Spicer

Based on the success of a healthy food selection program in Jennings County, a version of this is being offered in Jackson County.

The Leadership Jackson County’s Health Project Team, comprised of Joe Barnes, Jake Brown, Denise Connell, Rob Henley, and Jamie Napier, worked with Schneck Medical Center and Purdue Extension Jackson County to create a four-week pilot program.

The four courses are aimed at people with poor nutritional quality and poor access to food.

Topics include gardening on August 10th, food labeling on August 17th, food budgeting and meal planning on August 24th, and family meals on August 31st. There are also food demonstrations by Bethany Daugherty with Snail during second and fourth grades.

All four courses start at 3 p.m. at Laurel Place at Schneck Medical Center, one block south of the Seymour Hospital campus, and are limited to 30 participants. Each session is streamed online for those unable to attend.

Indiana Gleaners Food Bank provides grocery boxes at the end of second and fourth grades, and door prizes are given out during each class.

“The goal is to use the groceries in the Gleaners food boxes to show attendees how to prepare a healthy meal based on what they get in those boxes,” said Connell.

When Napier’s project team found out about the Jennings County program, Brown said their goal was to find out what it would be like in Jackson County.

Originally, they wanted to include farmers and the farmers’ market because that’s how it works in Jennings County.

However, with courses being offered in Jackson County in August, the main growing season is over, so the team went a different direction.

So they came to Schneck and Purdue Extension.

“We attended some of the Purdue Extension nationwide meetings and decided as a group that we wanted to attend their 12-week program,” said Brown. “We also wanted to keep the element from the Jennings County project where we can leverage the local farmers.”

The group then contacted Gleaners and the local Purdue Extension office.

Barnes said they had decided to change the scope of the program for the first year, going from 12 to four weeks and offering in-person and online options for classes. That way it would have growth potential and would be sustainable.

“When we developed it everything changed, so flexibility became paramount,” said Henley of the project. “We had to be able to bend over to make it something that worked.”

Schneck and Purdue Extension will advertise at the start of course registrations.

“The shared vision was more like doing a four week program and doing a really great job and getting a good buy-in from the community that is bringing results for the people participating,” said Connell.

Participants will complete surveys before, during, and after the program to provide Purdue Extension with feedback as it organizes courses for years to come.

“Hopefully all of this information gathered at these weekly meetings will give you a solid foundation for the future,” said Connell.

“Purdue will close the program in August but hopefully resume next year and really become a thriving cause that continues year after year,” said Henley.

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