Healthy Riverside and Local Food Systems

(This article was written by Gurumantra Khalsa).

Riverside County’s population continues to climb while access to primary health care providers has not kept pace. There are 40.5 primary care providers per 100,000 residents in Riverside County. The State average is 77.25 per 100,000. What’s the deal?

Closing this gap will require a multi-faceted and highly collaborative approach. Devloping a robust local food system is a good place to start. It offers real economic and health leverage. It’s our best available approach for diminishing the impact of disproportionatly low access to care opportunities.

Asthma is one of the regions biggst health challenges. Air quality is a significant factor. Anything we do to improve air quality, including reducing fossil fuel burning during vehicle trips, helps. Eliminating the food miles traveled in support of local food and agriculture can quickly add up.

Cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity are major lifestyle diseases impacted by poor food choices. This is compounded when a community is forced to confront food security and healthy food access barriers. In Riverside County, these are far more common than one would imagine. Access to public transportation compounds the problems.

Until our primary care provider to resident ratio improves, our best defense against the debilitating health outcomes Riverside County faces, is to ramp up our local food production and distribution.

Local food productin pays comounded dividends:

  • Local food offers access for all
  • Raises our Nutritional Intelligence Quoutient
  • Teaches children how food fosters health and wellness
  • Offers the first line of defense against lifestyle disease management
  • Employment and job training opportunities for marginalized communities
  • Brings high quality, nutritious and affordable food to the people who need it the most

GrowRIVERSIDE and start playing the “Is It Healthy?” game. Everybody who plays, wins.



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