By Stephanie Funk
Residents of Ajo, Arizona: cut your engines, and get cycling instead!
The Nutri-Bike-Ajo Coalition just received a $110,000 grant from the American Planning Association (APA) through its Plan4Health program. Plan4Health works in partnership with the American Public Health Association (APHA) and receives funding from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Plan4Health supports local and state public health coalitions (like Nutri-Bike-Ajo) to combat chronic illness by providing access to nutritious food and physical exercise.
Physical exercise, specifically cycling, is the banner of the Nutri-Bike-Ajo Coalition. The object of the Coalition is to create a sustainable cycling hub in the Ajo community. “Sustainable” means that it will cover the three P’s: planet, people and profit. Planet is an easy one; more people on bikes means less CO2 emissions. People will reap health benefits and will also receive access to education about safety and cycling repair. The Coalition will also help some community members become League-Certified cycling instructors and will form partnerships with other health-based community organizations. Ajo will then be able to leverage this community movement to promote economic growth. The hope is that the city of Ajo will become a model for other rural communities interested in embracing cycling for transportation, recreation and as an economic driver.
Coalition partners include: American Planning Association, Arizona Chapter; University of Arizona’s Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health and the Department of Mexican American Studies; Arizona Public Health Association; Desert Senita Community Health Center; Pima County Departments of Transportation, Health, and Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation; Project for Livable Communities; Arizona Association of Community Health Workers; and the Nutri-Bike Coalition.
For more information about the Plan4Health Program, visit plan4health.us or follow the hashtag #Plan4Health on Twitter.