GROW, Growing Rural Opportunity Works, is a diverse group of people from throughout Hodgeman County that have come together to make things happen for the Health and Well-being  of our community.  We are excited about all of the Healthy Initiatives happening in our community and are happy to be working together with a number of partners to create a Culture of Health in Hodgeman County!  

Our initial Goals include:

​* Increase access to healthy, locally grown foods for all Hodgeman County residents

* Support growth, businesses and the local economy

* Encourage local food production and agriculture

* Encourage physical activity through the enhancement of placees for exercise and outdoor recreation

* Promote health education and community resources


In 2015 the Board of County Commissioners signed a resolution creating the GROW Council.  "Hodgeman County recognizes the establishment of a community health and economic vitality council can encourage the offering of healthy local food available to Hodgeman County residents; support growth, businesses and the local economy; encourage local food production and agriculture; encourage physical activity through the enhancement of places for physical activity and outdoor recreation; and promote educational resources for the local population."


Since then, we were awarded a grant from the Kansas Health Foundation to grow our Farm and Food Policy Council.  This generous award allowed us to send members to the Built Environment Outdoor Summit and conduct a Local Foods Assessment (which we are now completing) and results should be available by the end of June. 


We were awarded the prestigous Community Health Champions designation at the 2015 State of Wellness conference....and this awesome video was part of our award! 


Seven of our local entities (Privately owned Businesses, City, County,

School and Hospital) have been working with Work Well Kansas.  Each entity received funding to create or enhance their employee wellness programs.  Because "Good Health is Good Business", Work Well Kansas is partnering with our businesses to develop a comprehensive business strategy designed to Improve Morale; Increase Productivity and Improve Health while Decreasing Costs; Reducing Presenteeism and Reducing Absenteeism.  Goals that will affect everyone's bottom lines in a good way!


We are now in Phase II with Work Well Kansas, and have received additional assistance from the Community Engagement Institute.   They have met with our GROW group and are assisting us with strategic planning for the coming year.  Upcoming work identified for the next few months includes Healthy Foods at the Swimming Pool; Demonstrations at the Grocery Store and Culinary Incubator; and Increased Wellness Activities at the Senior Centers.


We recently partnered with the Hodgeman Community Foundation and Jessica Hendrickson, to conduct a survey of our Senior Population.  The results from this survey are helping us to address the needs of our aging population.


We are working with the Jetmore-Hanston Lions Club to promote the Lion's Club Community Garden and the fact that community members can "lease" a garden plot for the summer, complete with water...at absolutely no cost!  We are encouraging entrepreneurs to grow fresh vegetables for the Jetmore Downtown Farmers Market!


In June we will be having a community-wide celebration when we put out the new Bike Racks which were part of a Safe Routes to School Grant....part of the initiative to increase walking and biking in Hodgeman County.  We will also be installing the Mile Marker posts which were awarded by Work Well Kansas!  And now that the County Swimming Pool opens, we will be encouraging healthy foods with the snack selections provided at the pool concession stand and fun educational materials.


As you can see....we are one busy group of people!  It is important to us that our community is healthy and we want to do more than talk about it...we want to dive in and get things done!  If you want to join us....please contact Lea Ann E. Seiler at Hodgeman County Economic Development.  620.357.8831 or hodgeman1@unitedwireless.com.


Hodgeman

  County, KS