But bear with me; I’m going to attempt to explain why that’s so exciting!
Swanton’s community-wide campaign to increase physical activity and healthy eating started a decade ago. It was called Fit & Healthy Swanton. Many folks see the physical evidence of that effort in the 1-mile walking/biking path that runs throughout Swanton’s downtown and across the river. But, that’s not all that happened. Over the years, we partnered with Swanton Recreation to increase healthy food options at the Rec Fields, add a community garden and promote healthy eating community-wide. We partnered with the school to draw attention to healthier options and offer more tastings of fresh and local fruits and veggies. And we worked to support all the Village and Town were doing to support their residents in healthier living.
Then, Swanton Enhancement Project has picked up right where Fit & Healthy Swanton left off…and expanded it. There are pedestrian and biking efforts, a strong Arts Council, outdoor recreation work and a whole lot more. It seems as though the whole community is focused on creating a healthy, vibrant place to live, work and play! RiseVT has joined in on the effort too, actively advancing that conversation about healthy lifestyles in Swanton along with all of the community partners.
Ok, back to the candy and soda part…
What’s exciting today is that according to Swanton Recreation’s Linda Cross, the community is simply buying less candy and less soda at their snack bar. The sales of those products declined during this summer’s softball/baseball season compared to other years. It seems as though Swanton families are just demanding less of those products. That’s evidence of a big change!
When a community comes together – the leaders, the key organizations, the families, and the businesses – they truly can, over time, make big changes in the health of their community. Soda and candy are big contributors to childhood obesity. But now, as families are participating in recreation at Swanton’s beautiful recreation fields, they’re eating fewer unhealthy foods. To me, that’s evidence of a changed, and changing, community. I like where this is going!