With more and more emphasis being placed on personal health in relation to healthy, vibrant communities, western New Hampshire has joined the numerous places around the county working to improve access to healthy food choices for all sectors of the population. Through funding provided by a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Community Challenge Grant, the Upper Valley Lake Sunapee Regional Planning Commission (UVLSRPC) is spearheading an effort to not only assess the geographic availability of healthy food options in relation to housing, but to then work with municipalities who hope to turn that analysis into a concrete set of policy changes that ensure accessibility, lower obesity rates, and improve public health.
The heart of Columbia, Tennessee lies along a highway and commercial corridor; the James Campbell Boulevard. It was built at the city’s peak when demand was high for retail space and office buildings, but in the past several decades the needs of the City have changed. With the third slowest growth rate in the state of Tennessee, Columbia is in decline. It has the highest unemployment rate of any city of its size in the state and 20 percent of the population living below the poverty line. Not only has Columbia failed to attract new residents, with more and more families choosing to settle in neighboring Middle Tennessee cities, but the city is losing the young millennial generation, that many recognize as key to attracting local investments and maintaining a vibrant economy.