Minnesota Hospital Association


March 08, 2017

Improving wellness in Long Prairie

CentraCare Health – Long Prairie is creating community well-being and promoting healthy lifestyles. The hospital’s goal is to provide programs, services and amenities designed to support well-being through the six dimensions of wellness: occupational, physical, social, intellectual, spiritual and emotional. In collaboration with community members, regional organizations, area businesses and foundations, CentraCare Health – Long Prairie and BLEND (Better Living, Exercise, Nutrition Daily) have taken the lead role to help the nearly 24,000 residents in Todd County make the healthy choice the easy choice everywhere, every day. Recent initiatives include: 

Intentional Social Interaction (ISI)
CentraCare Health – Long Prairie has been learning the value of intentional social interaction (ISI) through a yearlong project funded by a CentraCare Health Foundation grant. Through the ISI events that started in October 2015, CentraCare Health – Long Prairie has learned more about different cultures in the community and strengthened relationships.

Community Wellness Fair and 5K/1K
CentraCare Health – Long Prairie hosted a Wellness Fair in June 2016 attended by over 300 community members. Attendees could visit more than 40 booths covering various area health initiatives and participate in a 5K, 1K, a fitness workout station and a bike rodeo.

Share Health Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) pilot project
CentraCare Health – Long Prairie has committed to invest $10,000 annually for three years to provide CSA shares to 25 local families self-identified with food insecurities. Biweekly CSA shares were provided by SPROUT in Little Falls and distributed to families at the farmers market. Since the majority were Spanish-speaking families, materials were translated and interpreters helped with communication at food pick-up. A SNAP-Ed grant was awarded to BLEND to hire a part-time program manager and a SNAP-Ed educator provided cooking demonstrations.

Farmers Market
To enhance the success of the Share Health CSA program, CentraCare Health – Long Prairie worked with the local chamber of commerce and community members to revitalize the farmers market. The traditional farmers market was enhanced with music, entertainment, cooking demonstrations and recipe sharing, kids’ activities, art and craft vendors, and a taco cart vendor. In October 2016, the market had a reading theme with a story tent, crafts and book giveaway as well as a special visit by Lt. Governor Tina Smith as part of the governor and lt. governor’s 87-county tour.

BLEND’s Wellness Work in Schools
BLEND partnered with the Long Prairie schools to provide locally grown produce in the school. In April 2016, elementary students sampled fruits, vegetables and edible flowers during lunch, and an elementary school garden was created thanks to an Action for Healthy Kids grant and a Jeffers Foundation award. BLEND also helped the district update its wellness policy and implement “energizer opportunities,” which are short boosts of physical activity at the beginning of each day.

Long Prairie Wellness Network
CentraCare Health – Long Prairie participates in the Long Prairie Wellness Network, made up of a diverse group of over 35 community members who meet regularly to set goals and strategies to improve the community’s health. Most recently, this group brought Fare for All to Long Prairie. Fare for All purchases fresh, quality produce and meat in large quantities at wholesale prices and participants buy shares for up to 40 percent savings. This allows families to stretch their food budget and access nutritious food. The November 2016 pilot had 180 orders from 107 households in Long Prairie.