Tiffany Brown: Designing Community Wellbeing
We know redlining causes disinvestment and under-development. Two direct results are food apartheid and adverse health outcomes. For decades, West Dayton residents were without access to healthy foods, to quality fresh fruits and vegetables. But when the community decided to no longer accept the unacceptable, the Gem City Market emerged. And it's so much more than a grocery store.
Community producer amaha sellassie is also president of the Gem City Market Co-op. He spoke with fellow producer, nurse practitioner Tiffany Brown, who serves on the Market’s Health and Wellness Committee.
On the connection between the intentional under-development of West Dayton and health outcomes
When we look at this as a whole, there are three attributes that play a large role in wellbeing. They are connectedness, livability, and equity. So when we look at that, you know, we look at West Dayton and again, the disinvestment that negatively impacts our ability to be connected to one another. The livability, you know, we don't have the same opportunities for safe places to play. Housing, the stock, oh my gosh, the blighted neighborhoods that we have, the lack of access to culture and the arts. And in terms of equity, “All members are treated with fairness and justice with their basic needs met. There's equal opportunity for education, employment, and meeting individual potential.”
So I think the disinvestment negatively impacts all of those areas, which are all important when we talk about health. It's more than about your blood pressure and your blood sugar, your height, your weight. While all of those things are important, we know that the social determinants of health play a part in how our bodies are able to respond to challenges, whether that's physical, mental, emotional. We need to really feel like we are in a connected, livable, and equitable community.
On what it means to have a community owned grocery store in West Dayton
The Market means to me…it is owning. It is showing up in a way that helps us self-determine who we are and how we want our community to look and feel, and how we want to move around in the community. The kinds of things that we want to see, the places that we want to be, where we want to connect in community.
On the ways the Gem City Market can impact community health and wellness
It's one thing to create something that has potential, but then it's another thing to activate that, right? And so now we're in a situation where we have places that we can gather. We have a kitchen that we can cook in. We have the community room where we can have classes. We have the clinic where people can come and talk to healthcare providers. And so I think part of it is really looking at, you know, what the need is.
But we’re in a shared experience, and I think that the more that we can connect and communicate the better we are at living. Healthy living at that. And that's the goal. And we will get there if we keep showing up for ourselves and each other.
To learn more about the three indicators of Community Wellbeing and the definition that Tiffany cites, visit: https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/what-community-wellbeing
West Dayton Stories is produced at the Eichelberger Center for Community Voices and is supported by CityWide Development Corporation.