Thursday, December 16, 2010

New Active Living Policy in Buffalo!

Active living advocates released
the report Healthy City on
the Grea
t Lakes. The report includes information about the current conditions in Buffalo including current behaviors and perceptions about walking and bicycling. The report is full of information about who we are as a city, what our city looks like for pedestrians and cyclists, and how our policies and neighborhoods either help or hinder our ability to be active. The report also included a list of recommendations that can help the City become more friendly for active living.

The report was created by a team of partners - all of which are members of the HKHC partnership. The team includes Michael Ball (Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Inc.), Justin Booth (Green Options, Buffalo), Kailee Neuner (University at Buffalo), and Samina Raja (University at Buffalo).

Recently, HKHC partners presented the report to the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board. The Board drafted a resolution, that was sent to the Common Council, calling on the Council to adopt the Healthy City report as an addendum to the City's comprehensive plan. I am very happy to report that on November 16, 2010, the Buffalo Common Council unanimously voted to adopt the report. The adopted policy "authorizes all future steps to amend the city's comprehensive plan to improve the health and quality of life for Buffalo's residents."

This is a huge win for Buffalo! We should all get on our bikes and go for a celebratory ride! Stay tuned for more good news soon.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Great Youth Turnout at Buffalo Green Code Meetings!

During the week of November 15th, the City of Buffalo held three public meetings to discuss the planning of the new Buffalo Green Code - an overhaul of the existing zoning code and the development of a new land use plan for the city. The meetings were informative and interactive - allowing participants to share information about the places they liked and disliked in the city - giving the planning department and the consultants a good idea about what we value in our city.

There was a great youth turnout! At both the Tuesday and Wednesday meetings, youth 19 and under made up 10% of the participants! Middle school and high school students turned out with friends and family to share their views on what matters most to them.

For now, the consultants will take the information that they heard and continue to work with stakeholders in the community. Another round of public meetings will take place in the spring - we hope to see even more families and youth participating in the next round!

Photos courtesy of Erin Sharkey and the Massachusetts Avenue Project.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

2nd Policy Brief released today!

The second policy brief was released today by the HKHC assessment team from the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the University at Buffalo. This brief outlines the food system in the City of Buffalo.

What is a food system? The food system includes the production of food (farms, gardens, etc.), processing (canning, wrapping, etc.), transporting the food, distribution (grocery stores, corner markets, farmers markets, etc.) and food disposal (waste).

The policy brief also shows what neighborhoods look like around schools in terms of food access - what can students get within a five minute walk from their school?

Check out the policy brief below or download it here!

What is Zoning?

Some of you may be asking yourselves why zoning matters to you. The following is an excerpt from the City of Buffalo's Green Code website:

"A zoning Ordinance is a document containing rules, requirements and standards that guide and direct the use of structures and land, and the form and location of structures in a manner that carries out the policies of the Comprehensive Plan. It determines whether the design and use of neighboring buildings complement each other or conflict with each other. It determines whether the places that people live, work and play are clustered together or separated from each other. It determines the process through which change occurs and whether these changes happen in a manner equally transparent and predictable for the developers of land and residents of the neighborhoods in which they develop."

For those of us interested in health - zoning can support healthy neighborhood design. It can support the inclusion of grocery stores, parks and community centers. On the flip side, it can exclude or limit the number of unhealthy uses like liquor stores and fast food restaurants.

Tonight is the first Green Code meetings - come out and show your support for healthy community planning! Check out the Buffalo Green Code website at for location and time information - or see the previous posts! See you tonight!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Buffalo Green Code Meetings this week!

Now is the time to get involved! We have been talking for months about the City of Buffalo's overhaul of the current zoning code. The public participation meetings are happening this week!

You can attend any of the three meetings - doesn't matter where you live - just go to the one that fits best with your schedule.

HKHC has prepared a flyer that helps to explain a bit about the Green Code process. Click here and you can download the flyer!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

HKHC Blog Hiatus Over!

The HKHC blog is back! We have just come off a month of very exciting events and great work. The community vision was unanimously adopted by the HKHC Partnership as the vision for our work going forward! We are thrilled with all the participation and input we got from city residents. Thank you!

Coming up - the HKHC blog will be seeing some guests - we are looking forward to guest blogs from interested Buffalo residents.

Coming up - the Buffalo Green Code (the overhaul of the city's zoning code) public meetings have been announced! Please find the dates below. Look for information about zoning, land use planning, the Green Code and what it means for you in the coming days! You can also visit for more information.

- Central Region: Tuesday, November 16th, 7:00 - 8:30 PM, Buffalo Museum of Science

- North Region: Wednesday, November 17th, 7:00 - 8:30 PM, Bennett High School

- South Region: Thursday, November 18th, 7:00 - 8:30 PM, Tosh Collins Community Center

As always, you can email me with questions or post them here!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Vision Unveiled Tuesday 9/28!

The third and final event in the HKHC visioning series will take place tomorrow - Tuesday, September 28, 2010. The event will take place in the Zebro Conference Room (at Roswell Park) on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus. The Zebro room is on Virginia Street between Ellicott and Elm from 5:00 - 7:00 PM.

We will have great food, a bike raffle for our younger guests, a photography exhibit from the youth participants and brief remarks from members of our community.

Take a look at the vision created by 100+ Buffalonians:

Buffalo is a safe, welcoming community that enhances the physical, social and spiritual well being of its individual residents, families, visitors and communities. By celebrating diversity and building on existing assets, Buffalo fosters a collaborative, fun, healthy environment where youth and adult citizens drive the change we seek.

We are a community where:
  • People of all ages, classes, races and ethnicities are well cared for, and there are healthy living choices accessible for all.
  • Clean, safe, and accessible places, indoor and out, are available for people to travel, move and play year-round; where parks are well maintained and inviting to all ages, waterways are safe for drinking and recreation, and streets are lively and vibrant with a preference towards human-powered activities and transportation.
  • Access to high-quality, nutritious, affordable and culturally meaningful food, sourced from local farms and community gardens when possible, is available within a reasonable distance from all Buffalo homes.
  • Abundant education resources are equally accessible to all; with these resources, residents are actively engaged in conscious decisions to live a healthy lifestyle.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at I hope to see you at the event!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

2nd visioning session a success!

The second visioning session was a great success. 20 community members turned out to revise the draft statement created by the individual adult and youth visions from the August 3rd event.

Community members worked in small groups to ensure that the shared vision incorporated everyone's ideas and priorities - while remaining true to the HKHC goals.

As we move forward, we will begin planning for the third and final session in our visioning series. We will display the art created by our youth attendees, both craft pictures and photographs, as well as launch our newly crafted vision. We hope the final session will be a celebration for all of Buffalo - and the launch of the HKHC initiative in the city.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

First HKHC Report - Check it out!

As a part of the HKHC program, we are conducting an ongoing assessment of the healthy eating and active living environment in Buffalo. As a part of this assessment, Kailee Neuner - the research coordinator from the University at Buffalo for HKHC - produced a policy brief that outlines the current conditions. Please take a few minutes to read this very important document - and get involved. You can always contact me with any questions at jhersher[at]

Download the document here.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

2nd Visioning Session Tonight!

After a very successful first session, the HKHC community will meet again tonight to work on the draft community vision for a healthy Buffalo. Adults and youth came together on August 3rd to provide their personal visions for a healthy Buffalo, and these prioritized themes and ideas have been compiled into a draft vision.

Please come out tonight and help us finalize our vision! Everyone is welcome - health is important for all of us! See you tonight.

Check out some photos from the first session - some of our representatives are presenting their ideas...

Thursday, August 5, 2010

First Visioning Event a Success!

Thank you to all that came out for the first of three visioning sessions to help craft a vision for a healthier Buffalo. More photos and information to come soon! Here is a teaser from the youth session - the youth of Buffalo have some really great ideas and they know what it takes to be healthy.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

HKHC Visioning Series

Check out our posters for the upcoming Visioning Series...and come check out each event! Click on each poster to get a closer view...

Monday, July 26, 2010

HKHC Goals

Many of you may be wondering what it is we do. Here are some of our primary goals:

1. Engage the community in a dialogue about healthy eating (HE) and active living (AL) policy, and what it means to you

2. Promote HE and AL policy and environmental change in the City of Buffalo

3. Work with the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board for AL matters

4. Conduct a citywide assessment of policy conditions, physical and environmental landscape, and organizational capacity with respect to HE and AL - what does Buffalo look like right now? What are our assets? What are we missing?

5. Support the development of a Food Policy Council

6. Determine additional needs of HE and AL community in Buffalo

Now is the time to get involved! Contact Jessie at to learn more.

What is Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities?

Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities - or HKHC - is a program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that focuses on policy- and environmental-change that increases opportunities for physical activity and healthy eating -- leading to better overall health.

Why is this important? Good health goes beyond "not being sick." Good health includes eating right, getting enough exercise and feeling good about ourselves.

We, HKHC Buffalo, want to continue the conversation about healthy eating and active living in Buffalo. We want to hear from you - the residents of the City of Buffalo - about what makes a healthy community. We hope to hear from all ages, and will have activities and sessions geared towards youth and adults. We are getting ready to kick-off with our first event in the coming weeks so watch for more information!

You can also check out more about HKHC at the national level at