Open streets was a first-ever event in Dearborn that shut down the streets for motorized vehicle traffic. This event was located on 3.5 miles of streets in the Southend of Dearborn on Vernor Highway. This opened the streets for people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds to walk, bike, and play. Three hubs hosted physical activities that community members could participate in, free of charge.
A vacant lot has been transformed into a play space with a mini soccer field, walking path, and an accesible play structure. A walking path was created in order to promote fitness. Benches and a picnic/game table that are ADA accessible provide respite and relaxation for elderly and/or parents watching their children. New shrubbery and large-growth trees have been planted to provide buffering for those living in adjacent houses, shade and for environmental mitigation of air pollution.
The Seed Library operates out of the Henry Ford Centennial Library. The Seed Library is self-serve, and patrons can visit the library to sign up and borrow/return seeds anytime the library is open. Seeds are in a designated cabinet, along with educational brochures, flyers and pamphlets.
While running the Seed Library in this manner may lead to a marginal annual loss of seeds each year, the focus of the Seed Library is not to maintain a steady seed stock, but rather to encourage gardening and the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, in order to promote better health. Additionally, individuals can save a good deal of money by participating in seed sharing. There is no cost involved, so this allows for all community members, regardless of their socio-economic station, to participate, gain skills in gardening and benefit from the program. Participation in seed libraries also can lead to increased knowledge about nutrition and provide a greater understanding of food sources. By creating this seed sharing library, we hope to encourage community engagement and improve access to healthy foods. Please realize that the returned seeds have been grown by amateurs, and that there is no guarantee.
Walk and Roll
Walk and Roll started in 2016 and is now completing its fourth year. It is a community-based initiative to promote walking and bicycling for health, featuring weekly evening walk & rolls through Dearborn’s beautiful neighborhoods. More than 750 people participate each year. Another feature of it is the promotion of Dearborn’s nonprofits and small businesses; Walk & Roll meet-ups are scheduled at different locations in Dearborn, alternating each week between locations on the east and west sides of the city
The Healthy Dearborn Foods team members had a strategy to create a healthy restaurant project in order to
1) increase the number of restaurants offering healthy dining options
2) raise awareness among people who go out that healthy foods can be good for you, fun and delicious.
Student interns help carry out Healthy Dearborn initiatives. A student intern researched healthy restaurant projects implemented across the country. She developed criteria and awards categories of gold, silver and bronze. The criteria were vetted by a Beaumont registered dietitian as well as Sam Abbas who owns a restaurant that is the gold standard for healthy restaurants. We wanted him to tell us if the criteria were realistic for other restaurateurs to achieve.
We screened restaurants by reviewing menus online and then calling them up to discuss the criteria and project with them. We identified 13 restaurants that were eligible to receive our Healthy Restaurant awards.
Dearborn SHINES for Healthy Kids Project
Dearborn SHINES for Healthy Kids! is in collaboration with Wayne State University’s Center for Health and Community Impact, and proposes a whole child approach to address rising obesity rates among K-8 students. Activities include new edible gardens, new nutrition and enhanced physical education curriculum, after-school energizer clubs, monthly newsletters and family events. Other partners are University of Michigan-Dearborn Environmental Interpretive Center, school PTAs and ACCESS.
This was an eight- week program which encouraged community members to get active through walking with a group. A group leader was chosen to lead a team in a walk at least once a week for an hour. The leader kept track of the distances that the group walked and then reported the data.
More than 100 walkers participated in walking an astounding 16,091.82 miles!