SHIP program huge benefit to Faribault County
For people in Faribault County, and many others in Minnesota, their SHIP has come in.
SHIP stands for Statewide Health Improvement Partnership. They support community-driven solutions to expand opportunities for active living, healthy eating and commercial tobacco-free living.
In Faribault County, SHIP has organized and continues to support the Faribault County Community Food Partnership and Active Living Coalitions in Blue Earth, Wells and Kiester.
And, since last August, Faribault County has had a new SHIP Community Specialist helping these groups continue their work.
The new leader is LaNay Hervey, who is not just serving Faribault County but the SHIP groups in Martin and Watonwan counties as well.
Hervey is originally from Delavan and is a Blue Earth Area High School graduate. From there she graduated from college at the University of Minnesota-Morris with a B.A. in chemistry.
“My husband Andrew and I farm on family land between Winnebago and Truman,” Hervey says. “He also does carpentry work and I coach gymnastics and cross fit.”
Hervey has always had an interest in nutrition, so when the SHIP position opened up she applied for it and was accepted. She works as an independent contractor, mainly from her home.
She started her SHIP position on Aug. 20, 2018. And so far, she really likes her work.
“I love working with the people on these various groups,” she explains. “They are people who volunteer their time because they want to see positive changes in their county.”
She also feels that what SHIP is doing is very important.
“SHIP’s goals are to help people live longer, healthier lives,” Hervey says. “We work in communities, schools and child care centers, workplaces and health care facilities.”
In Faribault County, these goals are being accomplished in various ways.
The Faribault County Community Food Partnership group has been working to increase and support farmers markets, increase healthy food options at grocery stores, schools, food shelves and senior citizen centers, and help emergency food programs in several locations, including schools and summer food programs in Wells and Elmore.
The Kiester Active Living Coalition has been trying to increase knowledge of bike/walk safety for all residents.
This summer, the group plans to hold a bike rodeo on June 22, during Kiester Days.
They have also updated walking and biking routes in Kiester based on recent community input.
The Blue Earth Active Living Coalition has been busy working with the city of Blue Earth’s Street Committee to craft a Complete Streets Policy which has been drafted.
They also are completing an audit to determine the needs for bike racks around town, and they are paying for new racks.
Members of the group have also been working on a map of bike routes, complete with signage, maps, and an information kiosk at Giant Park.
Blue Earth’s ALC has also been trying to get the city named a Bike Friendly Community.
The group has also been working on completing walking paths, sidewalks, and help with getting the new slide at pool. They have also been involved lately with creating a trail along side Leland Parkway when that street is improved next year.
The Wells ALC has also been working on funding for sidewalks and trails in that city. They have also been involved in a Complete Streets Policy for Wells.
Active since 2010, they have been involved in many active living projects and, in 2015, they contracted with B&M to create a Greenway Plan for a green space in the city.
“That is just some of the many projects these local groups have been working on over the past several years,” Hervey says. “Anything to do with healthy living, from exercise to healthy eating to creating a better lifestyle for their communities these folks are doing all they can to do just that.”
Unfortunately, their future success could hinge on whether the SHIP program continues to be funded in the state.
“Currently we don’t know what the future holds,” Hervey says. “We are just waiting to hear from the Legislature. Once they decide, then we can decide what our focus can be next year, how much we will be able to do.”
But for right now, Hervey says, “this is my favorite job I have ever had.”