Access to Healthy Foods
Research shows that communities of color live in census tracts with no or low access to healthy retail food stores at higher rates than whites. There are various groups working to increase access to healthy foods through a variety of programs.
- Hub City Farmers’ Market (HCFM) and their SNAP Program: HCFM is committed to increasing the supply, demand, and access to healthy, local food in Spartanburg County. They operate a weekly farmers’ market at Northside Harvest Park and have become a statewide leader in connecting local farmers with Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) users.
- Northside Development Group (NDG): NDG encourages and manages the redevelopment of the City of Spartanburg’s Northside community, honoring its past and expanding the economic, educational, recreational, health, and social opportunities for its residents. Through the efforts of NDG and the Spartanburg community, the weekly farmers’ market is now hosted in the community at Northside Harvest Park. Additionally, Monarch Café and Grocery Food Store provides other healthy food retail opportunities for residents throughout the week in what was previously considered a food desert.
- South Carolina Community Loan Fund: The nonprofit organization transforms and revitalizes communities throughout South Carolina by financing a variety of projects including those that provide access to food.
Our quality of life and opportunities to be physically active are tied to our community design. Connected and well-planned communities allow people to not only reach their destinations by car but also to walk or bike. Upstate Forever and Partners for Active Living are leading efforts in Spartanburg to advance active living plans and policies.
For the past five years, through a partnership between the SC Department of Health and Environment Control (DHEC), all seven Spartanburg County School Districts, and Partners for Active Living, all 1st, 3rd, and 5th grade students in Spartanburg County have been measured to determine county-wide Body Mass Index numbers. The 2015 numbers show that more than one in three children are overweight or obese; however, these rates are even higher in children from low-socioeconomic households and among African American and Hispanic children. Below are initiatives and groups working to reverse these trends.
- Healthy Schools Initiative: A four-year (2016-2020) initiative that includes nine schools throughout Spartanburg County. The schools participate in the Alliance for a Healthier Generation Healthy Schools Program while receiving technical assistance from the Alliance and Partners for Active Living as well as funds to implement changes. The goal of the initiative is to help the schools create healthier environments, resulting in reduced Body Mass Index (BMI) numbers and improved academic scores.
- Preventing Obesity by Design: An initiative of NC State, Preventing Obesity by Design creates outdoor environments to support physical activity and healthy eating of young children attending early learning centers. Through a partnership between SC Department of Health and Environmental Control, SC Department of Social Services and Partners for Active Living, there are five early learning centers in Spartanburg County that are in the process of transforming their outdoor spaces.
- SPARK PE: The Mary Black Foundation has partnered with all seven Spartanburg County school districts to train PE teachers in every elementary and middle school in an evidence-based PE curriculum, SPARK PE. In addition, the Foundation selected four outstanding PE teachers to become local SPARK PE Trainers. The Foundation coordinates a bi-annual professional development day to support ongoing learning and excellence among our PE teachers.
- Eat Smart Move More Spartanburg: In 2016, the Spartanburg Childhood Obesity Taskforce transitioned into a chapter of the statewide organization, Eat Smart Move More South Carolina. The Spartanburg chapter continues work on reducing childhood obesity; however, the transition also expands the focus to include Way to Wellville efforts (see below) and a two-year HealthyCommunity50 Challenge.
Trails & Greenways
Partners for Active Living (PAL) has been the lead organization to implement the Spartanburg County Trails Master Plan, which will result in 32 miles of continuous trail. Other partners involved in this work include the City of Spartanburg, SPACE, Palmetto Conservation Foundation, Spartanburg County, and local business and community leaders.
Way to Wellville: Obesity Prevention
Spartanburg is participating in a ten year Way to Wellville challenge to develop new and innovative solutions that amplify and accelerate community health with five focus areas, including Obesity Prevention. Over these ten years, the Obesity Prevention committee has determined to focus work on five neighborhoods in the City of Spartanburg (Beaumont, Northside, Southside, Park Hills, and Highland) with the goal that all residents in those neighborhoods have access to healthy food and physical activity options.