Glassboro Unveils Healthy Food Access Information Hub

NJHI 2020: Small Communities Forging Hyperlocal Data Collaboratives Glassboro Food and Health Equity Project
A screenshot of the Info Hub (beta version)

Normal growth and development as well as physical health and mental well-being all rely on the consumption of nutritious foods throughout all the stages of our lives. A diet that includes fresh vegetables and fruits, lean meats and healthy snacks can reduce the risk of chronic diseases, including diabetes and heart disease, and even some types of cancers. Coupled with exercise, eating nutritious foods can help to address obesity, which is a significant risk factor for these chronic diseases.

Despite having the above knowledge and wanting to take good care of ourselves, it is not always easy to access what we need for optimal health. Simply traveling to local healthy and fresh food sources can be difficult for families. Sometimes we lack the time necessary to prepare a nutritious meal after a long day of work. In addition, the cost of buying foods that are not ultra-processed is more than some people can afford. The Standard American Diet is taking its toll on the overall health and wellness of Americans, and it has been doing so for a long time.

We are fortunate that in Glassboro we have affordable, fresh, and nutritious food sources within our own community. And now, by accessing just one web site, Glassboro residents can find exactly what they are looking for. The Information Hub: Healthy and Affordable Food in Glassboro portal provides a comprehensive, interactive story map on its digital hub that shares free data on local resources, including some located within walking distance of the most underserved neighborhoods. It features the locations, phone numbers and operating hours of full-size and small grocery stores, convenience stores that sell fresh and healthy foods, and emergency food distribution centers such as food pantries, farms, and community gardens. There is also information about how to access food education and training programs for those who would like a better understanding of which foods provide the best nutrition.

This portal was created by a student intern of Rowan University’s Community Planning + Visualization Lab using data from multiple sources including a working group of the Glassboro Health Equity Coalition. It is a beta version that the project team will finalize after hosting a series of community engagement activities over this summer. The team is seeking input such as critiques, corrections and any new data from residents as they use the Information Hub. While this portal is open to the broader Glassboro community, our goal is to provide these resources to low-income or food-insecure community members who are looking for access to free, fresh produce. Or maybe you are just interested in seeing what the Glassboro community is growing in their gardens this spring. Check out the Information Hub and share it with others to help this information reach those in our community who need it most.

The Grantee Blog regularly publishes updates from NJHI-supported communities. Bookmark this site to stay up-to-date and share in the work of building healthier communities across New Jersey.
Michelle Contarino, R.N.
Student at Rowan University, Department of Educational Services and Leadership