As Jamie Stang, Chair of the Public Health Nutrition Program
at the University of Minnesota, writes, Even the most culturally
competent, evidence based programs, cannot improve eating behaviors
among individuals or populations who live and work in an environment
that does not support or provide healthy food choices.(Journal
of American Dietetic Association, Volume 109, Issue 9).
We know that the path towards a healthier lifestyle begins with
eating the right kinds of food and exercising. We know this, but
how many people are honestly making changes in their diets which
will impact their bodies in a good way if our environment does not
support or provide healthy food choices?
Planting our own fields and gardens is one way of making sure
that we are taking a step in the right directions towards eating
healthy. We also should be able to walk into our own village stores
and have fresh produce, meats available at affordable prices. Yes,
most of us shop at our local border towns, but what about the people
who dont have any other choice but to shop at our local village
stores? Can you imagine the price they are paying to keep food on
their tables for a couple of weeks, or even a month? Is it even
healthy food they are purchasing or just the lowest priced items
that may not have the most nutritional value? What steps can we
take towards improving our environment for the health of our community?
help make a lasagna bed garden
Castion demonstrating how to plant finger potatoes
I was a part of the Farmers Market at the Hopi Veterans
Memorial Center on May 2, 2015, and there was a demonstration by
Kim Costian, who works at Ashokala Gardens located in Flagstaff,
on how to start your own garden. She demonstrated the lasagna bed
method where she layered old manure on top of wood chips/hay, then
added dirt on top, this provides the soil with nutrients and keeps
moisture in. She also had a lot of great gardening tips and soil
secrets. Patrick Pfeifer, of Roots composting demonstrated
how to start your own compost pile. They showed the crowd all the
different items, like banana peels, wilted lettuce, egg shells etc.;
that we throw away that can be used to create your own compost pile.
Their company is also located in Flagstaff.
peels, lemon rinds and other vegetables that can be used to
I have contacted our local village stores asking that they provide
more nutritional foods at low prices. I also asked for discounts
for elders. I found out that Keams Canyon Hopi Traders offers a
10% discount to elders every time they shop. They also encourage
everyone to buy a minimum of $70.00 and receive a case of pop for
$1.00 (I personally feel that they should offer water instead of
pop). Senior citizens (60 and older) have the option to purchase
the pop or receive the 10% discount if their purchase amount is
$70.00. The key is the seniors need to ask for the senior discount.
To receive fresher produce, they suggest coming to shop on Wednesdays
since their delivery truck comes in on Tuesday afternoon. They also
give a senior citizen discount of 10% on their meals at the café.
The key again is to be sure to ask for the discount. John Kay also
stated that if they do not stock an item, be sure to mention it
to the staff and they will accommodate your request. I asked if
these same discounts apply to Polacca Circle M Store which John
also manages, and he stated, No. He would need to upgrade
the registers there, and right now, it is not doable because it
is not cost effective.
Hotevilla Co-op stores manager, Michael Hunter, states that
they have a 10% discount for elders in place already. They just
need to ask for an elder discount card, and they will receive a
discount every time they shop there. He also stated that he does
have whole grain products available so that WIC clients can use
their checks there, but says that people need to ask for items they
need, if it is things like low-fat products, and that they also
need to buy the items they request for so that the store knows what
to order. SUPPLY AND DEMAND. He did try selling low-fat products,
but stated these items didnt sell so they were not reordered.
He also suggests coming on Wednesdays to shop for fresher produce.
Kykotsmovi Village Stores Julie Canyon stated that they received
my letter and Tommy Canyon took it to the board that governs the
store, and is not sure whether or not they will consider my request
as they already offer discounts on their products.
These are just small steps towards making change in our environment
to promote healthier lifestyles for our communities. What steps
will you take in your own world to improve the health of your family?
We all have to look out for one another and empower ourselves to
move in the direction of health and well-being. Our children, grandchildren,
and elders are our main focus and should always remain at the forefront
of the decisions we make in our lives. What better motivation can
there be than to see a childs smile or to hear the laughter
of our elders, and to know you are the reason they feel loved and