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Silver Springs food security and regional development topic of Dec. 13 gathering

By ThisIsReno

: Silver Springs, Nevada has outstanding schools and beautiful state parks and recreation areas. Pictured here, the Buckland Station Orchard area of the Fort Churchill State Park in Silver Springs during the Fall. Photo by Quest Lakes, permission to use.

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A dearth of full time jobs with livable wages, and the steep increase in gas prices since 2008 in an area with no public transportation, are contributing to a precipitous rise in food insecurity in Silver Springs, Nevada. The volunteer-powered Silver Stage Food Pantry served 3,379 people in October alone, and most were from Silver Springs, a community of about 5,000 people.  However, local community leaders are optimistic that by working together both locally and regionally, this trend can be reversed.

The goal of Healthy Communities Coalition’s December 13 public meeting in Silver Springs is to work with local volunteers, community leaders and regional groups to craft an action plan to address the immediate and pressing needs for food, while also keeping in mind a long term goal for creating “wealth that sticks” in Silver Springs – creating assets that Silver Springs residents own and control while recognizing the strengths of Silver Springs and respecting and building on the innovative work people are already doing in Silver Springs.

Regional Perspective: Christy McGill, director of Healthy Communities, said that  “it’s effective to consider the issues from local, regional, statewide and even national contexts. The meeting will include an overview of the new SET Economic Blueprint for western Nevada, which includes Silver Springs (Lyon County), Storey, Mineral, Carson, Douglas, Churchill, Pershing, Humboldt, etc. (The document can be found online at http://www.unce.unr.edu/programs/sites/set/blueprint/  ) During the meeting,  some of the strategies in the new statewide plan called “Food Security in Nevada”, which will be released later this month, will also be referenced.

Local Assets and Potential Will Be Highlighted: Key leaders spearheading effective Silver Springs community initiatives will summarize just a few of the ways residents are taking an active role in building their positive visions for their community’s future that will also improve food security in Silver Springs. For instance, residents are contributing over 700 volunteer hours of labor per month to the local food pantry alone, and are involved in many other diverse projects to benefit their community. The meeting will include in-depth discussion about how the community’s many assets can be further supported, invested in and strengthened by both residents and the regional agencies that are already receiving funding, in part, to serve the area. A small sample of community assets include the local high achieving, caring, and distinguished schools that are universally praised by students and parents in objective assessments,  the Silver Stage Co Op, S Club, the public library, organic farms, Stand Tall, Silver Stage Food Pantry, the Senior Center, Boys and Girls Club programs, and the potential that exists in the town’s public computer center, the Silver Springs Hospital District, the local airport, USA Parkway completion, recreational and historic sites and state parks tourism, etc.

Regional Groups Will Add Input: Representatives from regional, state and federal groups and agencies that are tasked with serving the area will offer ideas for working together with Silver Springs residents to ensure that they control the course of their own community development and can more effectively access health care, higher education and career and technical training, high speed internet access, good nutrition, public transportation, etc. How would adequate infrastructure in public transit, health care, broadband access, and food systems affect food insecurity? The group will review infrastructure gaps based on local surveys, focus groups, data on health, education, income, housing, transportation, etc.

When and Where: Healthy Communities Coalition’s public meeting on Thursday, December 13 at 9am is at the Silver Springs Community Center at 2945 Fort Churchill Road. For more information, contact Christy McGill at 246-7550.

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