This year’s Health Innovation Grant Workshop speakers were, according to many, “the best ever” for Healthy Central Florida.
Gil Penalosa, Founder of 8-80 Cities and John Rife, Founder of East End Market, each shared their expertise, passion and strategies for making our community the healthiest in the nation.
The two spoke to a crowd representing non-profit agencies, schools, faith groups and municipalities at the 5th Annual Health Innovation Grants Workshop where $25,000 in mini-grants will soon be awarded to ten attendees.
“I have been to so many community presentations in my career, but I don’t know that I have every enjoyed a morning more or been so inspired,” said Annette Kelly, PhD, ARNP and a board member at Neighbors Network. Her sentiments were echoed by many.
Gil, who travels the world consulting with public and private groups to make cities healthier, safer and more connected through “sustainable mobility”, gave the audience a simple test to know if roads or intersections were safe. “If you would send an 8-year-old or an 80-year-old to cross an intersection by themselves, then it is safe enough. If you would not, it’s not. It’s that simple,” he said.
He added, “Change is hard. When you want to change something, the C.A.V.E. people come out. Citizens Against Virtually Everything!”
Meanwhile, John Rife shared many national and local examples of innovative ways to increase access to healthy foods – from aquaponic and hydroponic operations to farming by bicycle.
Citing examples from Denver to Chicago to Orlando, John also announced an exciting new program between 4 Rivers Foundation and Orange County Public Schools – 4 Roots. We can all expect healthier, home-grown foods for our local schools – and educational opportunities for students to learn about STEM while also learning about agricultural operations.
John also highlighted a super innovative local program (a former Healthy Central Florida grant recipient) “Fleet Farm
ing”, where “urban farmlets” (AKA people’s yards) are farmed and the crop is shared between the homeowner and Fleet Farming to sell at market, helping fund and sustain the program. It doesn’t get much greener or more innovative than that.
Grant applications are due Nov. 20th at midnight and winners will be announced the week of December 11th.