Let's Talk About

Active Living

Active Living

Healthy Eating

Healthy Eating

Tobacco-Free Living

Tobacco-Free Living

Healthy Eating in our...

We want to bring a variety of nutritious options to the community to ensure that everyone has access to healthy and affordable food. We work with food shelves, farmers markets, growers and others to expand access to healthier foods in our communities.


Success Stories

  • Seed Bank and Library – A Unique Partnership in Winona

    The City of Winona Parks and Recreation Department and Winona State University are partnering on the first Seed Bank and Library to take root in southern Minnesota as well as the first Seed Bank and Library within all of the Minnesota State Colleges and University system. 

    The numbers from the first twelve months of the effort are impressive:
    – 350 users
    – 45 varieties and species of seeds
    – 165 attendees at two workshops featuring seed saving demonstrations and hands on activities
    – 500 volunteer hours, equating to an economic value of $13,790
    – 3,000 plant starters given away at three outreach events
    – 300 cookbooks in English and Spanish given away
    – 500 individuals reached through 7 lectures, 2 tabling events, 2 podcasts and 1 facilitated discussion around food equity and insecurity, biodiversity, and seed saving

    The project received funding from the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership and leveraged funding from personal donations, the American Association of University Women and Bluff Country Co-op’s bean jar program as well as multiple sources within Winona State University including the Green Fee, Student Senate, and a WSU Foundation campaign for a total budget of almost $15,000.  The project also received hundreds of dollars of resource donations from Seed Saver’s Exchange, Nature and Nurture Seeds, Renee’s Garden Seeds, Fedco Seeds, and Collective Eye Films.

    The main branch of WSU Seed Bank and Library is located at the East Recreation Center, which is in a lower income neighborhood and is predominately used by those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. A smaller Seed Bank and Library is housed in the Winona State University campus food pantry.

    “At every event we had I met people who shared innovative ways to grow their own food,” said WSU Seed Bank & Library founder Alison Bettin. “In our seed saving workshops and outreach events we talked about container gardening; it’s a good place to start, and ideal if you don’t have a lot of land to grow produce. Growing their own food empowers people to take back a part of their life they haven’t paid as much attention to.”

    Thanks to the success of this work in Winona, a community member in Rochester was inspired to partner with Rochester Public Library to start a Seed Library of their own.

    To learn more about what is happening at the WSU Seed Bank & Library follow them on Facebook @wsuseedbanklibrary.

  • Fresh Funds Program – A New Way to Provide Nutrition

    Every year between December and April, the Winona Volunteer Services food shelf experiences a decline in fresh produce available for their clients.

    To help alleviate that challenge, Winona County PartnerSHIP, Winona Hy-Vee and Winona Volunteer Services partnered to introduce a program called “Hy-Vee Fresh Funds” to help increase access to fresh, nutritious fruits and vegetables for local food shelf clients.

    When shopping at the Winona Hy-Vee during the month of March, which is National Nutrition Month, shoppers were invited by cashiers at the checkout lane to add $1, $5, $10 or more dollars to their grocery bill. The amount donated was deposited directly into a separate account for Winona Volunteer Services to purchase fresh food for food shelf clients.

    A total of $454.45 was raised through 192 transactions, which was used to buy 520 pounds of fresh produce, including cauliflower, cucumbers, potatoes and Georgia peaches.

    “All of the produce from Hy-Vee was extremely fresh. The volunteers are delighted to see a variety of produce available to our shoppers, especially having more expensive items like peaches,” said Sandra Burke, Winona Volunteer Services Executive Director.

    “We are proud to be able to partner with our community to help provide fresh, nutritious foods for all,” said Jennifer Holden, Winona Hy-Vee Registered Dietitian.

    The Hy-Vee Fresh Funds program was supported by the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP), which helped fund store signs, brochures and cashier stickers to prompt donations.

  • New SHIP Partner Gets Their Hands Dirty – Literally!

    Front Porch Management and Winona County PartnerSHIP (SHIP) are partnering to bring healthier foods and enhanced opportunities for physical activity to the area. 

    Prairie Island Campground serves approximately 2,000 people per month, which new management expects to increase thanks to additional attractions added this year. Front Porch Management began a community garden at Prairie Island Campground with 21 plots available to use for the season at no cost to campers or community members. The garden was developed as a way to bring healthy fresh foods to community members and guests of the campground, build community awareness of the importance of healthy foods and provide learning opportunities for area students in grades K-12.  SHIP partner, Riverway Learning Community, has had three, 2-hour work sessions to help prepare the garden for planting. Three of the garden plots will be grown for community consumption. Extra produce will be shared with short term campers, community members, and with the Winona Volunteer Services food shelf.

    “We want to start small and send a message to the community – we are building a culture here,” said Anne Conway, co-owner of Front Porch Management. “We are offering fun and safe ways to enjoy the Prairie Island community.”

    Other plans include a pollinator garden and rental of paddling equipment including canoes, kayaks, and paddle boards in partnership with Winona State University. Additional plans for the campground include a bicycle rack, bicycle fix-station, bicycle fleet, and signage in other languages to be more inclusive.

    Visit the Prairie Island Campground website or read the Winona Daily News article to learn more.

  • Strong Market Season Kick Off

    The Goodview Farmers Market kicked off its second season (first full season) on Thursday, May 3 and it started off strong. The market welcomed approximately 150 customers, many were families that biked to the event. In 2017, the market hosted six vendors. In 2018, 17 have applied so far and five more are expected later this growing season.

    A new, fun, free program that is already drawing interest while increasing access to healthy foods is the Power of Produce (PoP) Club. Thanks to funding from the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP), children ages 4 through 12 receive a reusable shopping bag and a token valued at $2 to be spent (by kids) on fresh produce. Kids receive their token once per market and have the choice to spend it that day on fresh, locally grown produce, or save it for a future market. 41 kids registered for the PoP Club at the market kick off and 59 more at the next market, which had one customer very excited. “It’s great that Goodview is offering a Farmers Market. We need something like this in this area. My kids are so excited for the Power of Produce Club – they can’t wait to come back,” she said.

    The Farmers Market runs every Thursday through October from 3:00 to 6:30 p.m. in the Elks Lodge Parking Lot, 4540 Service Drive, Goodview, MN. Register for the PoP Club at the market information table.

  • Growing the Goodview Farmers Market

    The Winona County PartnerSHIP is proud to support the Goodview Farmers Market as it prepares for its second season. Emily Conners of the Goodview Farmers Market Board of Directors and Shannon Randall of the City of Goodview attended the 2018 Minnesota Farmers Market Association Conference & Annual Meeting in Monticello, MN thanks to funding from the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership through the Minnesota Department of Health.

    “I was so impressed with the MFMA conference. We are very excited for the upcoming market season, with lots of ideas to make this the best market possible,” said Shannon Randall, Goodview Farmers Market Coordinator

    One new program that the market is considering this year is the Power of Produce (PoP) Club. This incentive program provides children ages 4 to 12 with a $2 token each week to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables. The primary goals of the program are to improve the eating behavior of children and increase family attendance at the farmers market.

  • Beyond Addiction – Optimizing Healthy Eating

    Drug Court of Winona County (DCWC) aims to prolong and improve the lives of participants by helping them recover from addiction. Often, one unhealthy habit is replaced with another when a person begins recovery. For example, once a person stops using drugs, they often eat excessively, and usually the food is unhealthy. Beyond addiction and mental health issues, the participants have often been in poverty, homeless, or had other living challenges; this often leads to people not knowing how to make nutritious choices or even knowing how to cook.

    In the summer of 2017, DCWC received a SHIP mini grant to implement a program focused on nutrition education and optimizing healthy eating. The program provided Drug Court participants with the knowledge and materials needed to create better eating habits on a cost-effective budget. Through Winona Volunteer Services, a nutritionist taught participants how to prepare and cook meals that are healthy, quick, and affordable. The Hy-Vee dietician offered walk through tours of the store, showing participants where to look for healthy foods and also how to create meals that would work specifically for each participant’s needs, allergies, or dietary restrictions.

  • Project FINE Colorful Growers

    The Project FINE Colorful Growers program aims to promote agriculture and entrepreneurship among diverse youth. During the grant period of April to September, 2017, three families participated in project activities. Participants met to divide the garden into plots and plan what they would plant. In late April, they started seeds in trays so that they would grow into seedlings to plant in the garden. The garden was ready for planting in early June, and the program provided seeds and tools for families. Throughout the summer, the youth tended their garden plots and harvested their produce. SHIP grant funds were used to purchase gardening and hoop house materials.

  • Goodview Farmers Market

    The City of Goodview launched a Farmers Market in the summer of 2017. The mission of the Goodview Farmers Market is to bring together local growers and artisans, support local farmers and businesses, and provide a thriving and inclusive gathering place for all residents of our community.

    The market generated great interest, with over 140 people attending the kick-off event. The weekly market offers fresh produce, artisan items, music and food trucks featuring fresh, local products. SHIP funds assisted with the start up costs of canopies, signage and advertising.

    See our coverage in the Winona Post for more information.

  • East Recreation Center Community Garden

    The East Recreation Center (ERC) implemented a community garden, supported by SHIP funds, comprised of 50 plots of various sizes. The garden is tended and nurtured by multiple groups and individuals within the Winona community. The garden has increased opportunities for good nutrition and physical activity for residents of Winona. The addition of a community garden has positively impacted the economic, social and physical environment at the East Recreation Center. The garden helps foster wellness within the mind, body and spirit through gardening and programming, and celebrates diversity, creativity and sustainability. Garden programming in the first year includes a tea party, potluck, yoga and mindfulness.

  • Healthier Menu Options

    Live Well, Eat Well is menu labeling wellness initiative developed to help customers easily identify healthier menu choices when dining out. The criteria used for this program is based on Mindful by Sodexo. Live Well, Eat Well menu items are reviewed by a Winona Health registered dietitian using a food analysis program to ensure the nutritional criteria are met. Offering information on healthy menu options allows consumers to make informed decisions that support a healthy lifestyle. SHIP funds contributed to promotion, supplies and staff training.

Let's Talk About

Active Living

Active Living

Healthy Eating

Healthy Eating

Tobacco-Free Living

Tobacco-Free Living

Creating Better Health Together