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Table of Contents:

Photovoice is a tool that combines photography with grassroots Communities

social action. Participants are asked to represent their community or
point of view by documenting their lives through photography, discussing Red Lake Reservation 14
the photos together, developing narratives to go with their photos, and Cannon Falls 18
conducting outreach or other action.
Grand Portage 22
The Health In My Hometown Photovoice project was conducted in
12 communities across Minnesota that are participating in the Statewide Minneapolis 28
Health Improvement Program (SHIP). Through SHIP, these communities Ramsey County 34
are actively making changes to their local areas with the goals of increasing
physical activity, improving nutrition and reducing tobacco use. The Dakota County 40
photovoice project is funded by Minnesota Department of Health and the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cottonwood-Jackson-Redwood-Renville 46
Laporte 52
Mankato 58
Rice County 64
Rochester 68
Todd County 72

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Photovoice is a method that enables people to
define for themselves and others what is worth
remembering and what needs to be changed. Communities have a big influence on our health. While it is up to each of us to
-Caroline Wang eat good food, get physical activity and not smoke, the choices available—safe
crosswalks, maintained parks and healthy school lunches—are often out of our hands.

We all have a responsibility to take care of our communities, and to work for the
health of everyone—especially our youth. That’s why across Minnesota people are
working hard to encourage community gardens and farmers markets, to build bike
paths and safe places to walk, to make it safer to walk or bike to school and to bring
nutritious foods from the farm to the school. Together we are working to make the
healthy choice the easy choice.

This Photovoice project is an opportunity to see communities as our youth see

them. We gave teams of youth volunteers cameras and asked: What makes your
community healthy? We received a wide range of answers—some challenging, many
encouraging and some surprising. All of them reflect the real world in which they
live, work, learn and play.

We hope that by looking at our community through their eyes, we can spur community
dialogue about what we can do to make it easier to be healthy, especially for our
young people.

Pat Adams, MPH, BAN, RN

Director, MDH Office of Statewide Health Improvement Initiatives

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With the MDH Photovoice project over 65 youth from
SHIP communities across Minnesota were asked,

What makes your community healthy?

To answer this question participants were armed with cameras and took to the streets to view
their everyday surroundings in a new light. They were asked to become photojournalists and tell
the story of living healthy in their community.

They began looking around and discovering

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What helps someone
eat healthy, be physically active and live a healthy lifestyle.

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Why kids play at some parks… and not others...

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…and what our communities can do to help

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Red Lake Tribal Reservation
Youth Participants: Charli Schocker, Katarina Mondragon, Tammi Beaulieu, Faleisha Desjarlait,
Amy Benais
Adult Leaders: Susan Ninham, Becky WierSchke, Rose Eileen

Unsafe Places for Physical Activity

Most of the parks in Red Lake are unsafe for children to play on. They are overgrown,
broken and full of graffiti. It’s difficult for kids to be physically active if they don’t have
space to play.

- Feleisha Desjarlait

This picture sends the message to youth that, “we don’t care if you have a safe place.”
Susan Ninham, SHIP Leader

The next plans for Red Lake SHIP are to address the need for safe spaces for physical
activity on the reservation. In addition to fixing up the parks, SHIP is helping to create a
paved walking path near the park and school.

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Access to Healthy Food
Healthy food is difficult to get in Red Lake. We only have
one market and the little they have is poor quality and
expensive. Diabetes, heart disease, obesity and many
other illnesses are HUGE problems in our community and
we need healthy food to be accessible in order to solve

-Rose Eileen

To address this issue, Red Lake SHIP interventions have

focused on strengthening food production within the
reservation and increasing access to local produce.
This past year SHIP supported two community youth
gardens and organized Red Lake’s first farmers market.
Additionally, cooking demonstrations were conducted
at the Job Training Center as part of Worksite Wellness.
Attendees were taught how to prepare healthy meals
with affordable ingredients that can be found locally.

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Cannon Falls
Youth Participants: Kyler Banks, Bjorn Pearson, Emma Thomley, Emily Jacobson, Rachel Benson
Lily French
Adult Leaders: Megan Drake-Pereyra

Canoeing the Cannon River

Canoeing is a popular activity in my community. The river is a great
community resource. It is open to public use and is a beautiful place to
get exercise and have lots of fun as a family.

- Bjorn

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Shop Local
The market is a way to get people together,
to eat healthy and support local growers. Everybody Bikes!
These are my sister’s and her friend’s bikes outside
If people buy healthy food and support lo- my house. This shows how everyone my age bikes
cals, they and the sellers will profit. Your and it is an important source of exercise for us.
purchase will give you food that will make
your body strong while helping the commu- - Emma
nity be strong at the same time.
- Lily

Barriers to Biking to School

This photo shows the lack of bike racks at school.
Since there isn’t a safe place to put your bike many
people won’t ride their bikes - why risk getting it
Anybody can exercise
This lady walks every day up and down the sidewalk - Bjorn
in front of her house.

I wanted to share this photo because it shows two

important things: first, safe sidewalks are important
to a lot of people ability to be physically active and
second, that every person can commit to staying
healthy. If she can do it anyone can!

- Emily

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Grand Portage
Youth Participants: Gracie Christenson, Kyler Dechante, Shianna Lien, Chace Gengler
Adult Leaders: April McCormick

Finding your food

This is a picture of the wild blueberries that grow in

our community. Oh my gosh, they are so good you
would be amazed. Anyone can pick them when
they are in the woods. They are free, delicious and
filled with nutrients.

- Chace

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Eating healthy gives you
more energy to play.

This is a picture of the best day ever. I got to This is our community garden in Grand Portage. Anyone can get a
get dirty and eat vegetables. -Kyler plot to grow food in it. People grow lots of stuff like: corn, beets,
24 squash, onion, radish, tomatoes. -Kyler 25
Rendezvous Days Pow-Wow
The annual Rendezvous is celebrated in Grand
Portage during the second weekend of Au-
gust. The event is held in conjunction with the
Rendezvous Days Pow-Wow, sponsored by the
Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chip-
pewa. The annual gathering is the biggest
and most grand celebration of the year, a time
when Grand Portage comes alive and reflects
on its rich heritage. -Chace

Wild rice is a traditional food because it comes from

the creator and it helps you eat healthier. You will We need sidewalks in Grand Portage. Kids walk and bike on the same road as cars. This
26 have a good life. -Chace 27
picture shows how close cars can get to bikers. -Kyler
Youth Participants: Alysha, Kaalid, Kayla, Mary, MJ, Omar, Arthur
Adult Leaders: Alyssa Banks, Alison Moore

Safe Places for Kids to Play

This picture show a young girl looking up to her home in Cedar Riverside from the
park below. F-building’s park is right next to her home and many children come
here to play. Parents are barely ever with them because they know it’s a safe place
that for some if they look out the window they can see that their children are safe.

- Mary

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This picture is from a ‘rally for
Traveling in the City peace’ community event that
was in North Minneapolis. The
While living in the city, you’re
child in the picture wishes for
always moving around and
peace for his own neighborhood.
going places. Downtown is easily
accessible by way of light-rail,
- MJ
bus or biking. Sometimes though
these things can be damaged and
make it harder for people who
want to use them.
Young kids learning the impor-
tance of physical activity. Hard
- Mary
work pays off...mentally and

- Alysha

Cedar Riverside Youth Council

and Brian Coyle Center
collaborated to create three
murals in Cedar Riverside. This
mural stands for the peace,
prosperity and multiculturalism
that are part of CR. This picture
shows my hope in what my
community will become.

30 - MJ 31
This is by Matthews Park. It
is a locally grown community
garden. You can grow and buy
vegetables and fruits.

- Kaalid

Little Earth Community Garden

- Arthur and Kayla

This is my 7-year-old brother. He is having a difficult time going down the slide located by my building.
Many kids get their exercise by playing at the park and going down the slide. In his case, he is not
32 having fun because the slide is too hot and is too small for even a 7-year-old to fit. -Kaalid
Ramsey County
Youth Participants: Melissa Amparan, Marianne Mugambi, Sannia Elzia, Sheng Vue, Pa Chia Vue
Michelle Paura Amparan

Adult Leaders: Laurie Burns, Marijo Wunderlic, Juliet Mitchel, Jamie Anderson

Getting fresh produce to the community

Every Saturday morning we have a market stand from 9 to noon. It’s located on the
corner of 7th Street next to the Swede Hollow Café. We sell our fresh organic pro-
duce to the community. It’s a great way for us to communicate with the people in
our neighborhood.

-Sheng and Pa Chia Vue

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Gardening 101
We work at the Community Active St. Paul 
Design Center of Minnesota as On Summit Avenue in St. Paul,
youth interns in the Garden and bikers have easy access to staying
Nutrition Corps. In Garden Corps physically active on the paved
we tend and maintain seven bike path. They can experience a
organic gardens on the East Side beautiful and safe neighborhood.
of St. Paul. In Nutrition Corps we
prepare healthy recipes using the - Sannia Elzia
produce we grow in our gardens.
We also share our produce with
the community and our families.
- Sheng and Pa Chia Vue

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Open, green spaces free of graffiti and debris invite children to play and be active.
- Marianne

Unclean Parks
This was suppose to be a clean environment for the neighborhood to enjoy. It’s
remodeled, but the trash and filth is not inviting.

- Sannia Elzia
In this picture, the youth interns are building fences to protect the vegetables
in the garden from animals, for example, turkey, deer and rabbits.

38 - Sheng and Pa Chia Vue 39

Dakota County
Youth Participants: Tommy Hayes, Mariah Gieger, Mike Post, April Valetea

Adult Leaders: Mary Montagne, Shannon Bailey

Where the walking trails end

Farmington has many great walking paths. However, this path ends before it gets
to my school, making the commute nearly impossible and very dangerous without a
car. It would be great if the path continued.

- Mariah

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Fresh and Local
There is a local farmers market in my
neighborhood every Friday. It is a great
way for my family to get fresh produce
for a great price. This photo shows the
variety of vegetables available, and my
mom, who uses the produce to make
healthy meals at home.

- April Healthy and Unhealthy Vending

The vending machines are a popular spot for
students to stop, especially after school for
a snack.

This is important to me and my community

because there are healthier choices students
can be making. The only competition for the
vending machines is the Tiger Snack Shack
that is open almost all day. Despite a recent
overhaul of the Snack Shack food options,
the unhealthiest choices are still the most

- Mariah

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Dangerous Crosswalks
I staged this photo with a couple of my friends to demonstrate the serious problem of traffic safety No Sidewalks
on Delaware Avenue. Often times while traveling on this road a biker will just pop out of nowhere and Students desperately need sidewalks on the road by my high school. Students walk up and down the
ride right in front of your car. This problem could be fixed if there was a proper bike/walk path along busy road, illegally crossing the street because there is no other alternative. The pavement is torn up
the road instead of just a shoulder. Also, there are no pedestrian crossing signs anywhere on the road. on the edges and not in good shape. Students need sidewalks or at the very least a crosswalk.
To improve safety, the city should add signs telling pedestrians where it is safe to cross.
- Tommy
- Mike
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Youth Participants: Ellen Munshower, Jamie Symens, Aluxis Ingebrigtean, Natalie Schlanger,
Jenna Peterson

Adult Leaders: Bonnie Fredrickson

Fall Fun
This is my sister at our local apple orchard. Apple orchards are great because they
encourage healthy eating, local foods and physical activity.


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Improving School Lunch
A not to so healthy lunch.

- Ellen

Parks are a great way for kids to get outside and play! When I was little I would always go to
But the new Farm to School
parks and have fun.
program will bring in food
straight from local farmers.
- Jamie

- Aluxis
Some trails in our area are in terrible
disrepair. People would walk more if
the sidewalks weren’t crumbling.

- Natalie

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I love the Farm to School
program in our school!

- Jenna

Equal Access
Anyone from the community can use the
‘I Dig My Farmer’ Farm to School promotional program is weight room at our school. It is important
an initiative of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.
to have these places where people can
come work out.

- Jenna

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Youth Participants: Alli, Chase, Corrina, Biancha

Adult Leaders: Raeann Mayer, Sara Bowles

Safe Places for Kids to Play

Rock Sober is a youth group that encourages substance free choices and activities.

- Biancha

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This is a garden that Rock Sober started
growing in the spring. It has brought fresh
vegetables to our local grocery store. We
had help from strong community members
and the garden is doing awesome.

- Biancha

4-H is an active way of living and learning. You do projects on gardening,

sewing, community projects and horse showing and games. And you learn
a lot of different things.
- Biancha

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The Paul Bunyan biking trail.

Working to put new biking and

walking trails through Laporte.

- Chase & Alli

No Sidewalks
The route for the community to walk or ride from the downtown area or
bike trail to the school, which serves as the center for many community

- Alli

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Youth Participants: John Powers, Samantha Kenny, Jen Lang
Adult Leaders: Bonnie Frisk

A boy engaging in physical activity called slacklining. This shows there are other
ways of staying fit and active while at the same time having fun rather than your
typical running, weightlifting or going to the gym. This picture encourages people
in the community to try new activities to stay healthy.

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Two girls are walking a dog
at our local Humane Society.
This shows you can do good
for your community while
exercising at the same time.

To be able to still smoke this smoker had to prepare for the rain, this caused her to
smoke by the doors. Some of the doors on campus are required to be at least 15
feet away. If there is bad weather many smokers choose to ignore this rule.

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A girl is being personal trained at the weight room. If you need assistance or motiva-
tion to work out, it is available to you right in your community.

This photo shows a row of fresh vegetables ready for purchase for customers. This
shows there are options for healthy food choices located in Mankato. This photo
tells us there are healthy options nearby at a convenient location for an affordable
price. Healthy food choices are realistic and available in Mankato. This relates to
Mankato community members in that there are healthy options for cooking meals
or snacks if we take the time to look for it.

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Rice County
Youth Participants: Kayla Bahr, Gisel Salinas, Nathan Little, Basra Osman, Sammi Krukauski
Adult Participants: Mary Kleingarn, Carolyn Treadway, Natalie Ginter

Neighborhood Night Out

I took this picture because it shows how much people appreciate community activi-
ties on a warm summer day. Softball and other sports not only keep the players
physically active, it also and brings community member together to be outside,
socialize with neighbors and enjoy the park.

-Nathan Little

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Faribault Youth Gardening
The SHIP mini grant funded youth
gardening project at SHAC (So How
are the Children) teaches Faribault
youth the importance of healthy
eating through gardening and food

- Gisel

Unappealing Parks
While looking at this picture, I can count
on one hand how many things there are
to play. It isn’t very appealing to me
and is most likely not to a child either.
Therefore, if the children of Dennison are
not going to be playing at the park, it
is very likely that they will just be sitting
inside playing Xboxs or Playstations or
watching television. That is why the City Mondays In The Park is a service provided in Rice County during the summer
Council should remodel the Dennison months. Mondays provide fun and friendship for local Somali women and families.
park to get kids to be more active and Children have the opportunity to participate in organized outdoor activities while
healthy. women engage in ESL conversational practice with English-speaking women from
the community.
- Kayla Bahr
66 - Nathan Little 67
Youth Participants: Maurice Lowery, Kasey Cook, Chris Dunner, Brandon Wilkes, Eli Erath
Adult Participants: Jo Anne Judge-Dietz, Beth Rojas

A little About Golden Hills School…

Golden Hills is an alternative learning center within the Rochester Public School
district. The mission of Golden Hills is to support viable educational options for
students who are experiencing difficulty in the traditional system and are at risk of
educational failure.

Golden Hills has found a way to bring science to life by starting an urban farm on
campus. With student volunteers who work through the summer they produced
a large variety of crops including sunflowers, corn, tomatoes, lettuce and huge
pumpkins! The vegetables were shared among volunteers but future plans include
selling the produce at the farmers market. The garden and farming activities are
being integrated into the curriculum and this fall they added a fish-farming opera-


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We grow sunflowers in our school
garden. Sunflower seeds are a won-
derful, low-cost snack that is easy to
grow. Sunflowers also provide us
with a large supply of bird seed for
our school bird feeders.


Chickens at School
I think it is really cool that our school has chick-
ens. Chickens provide us with eggs and a good
meat supply. We allow our chickens to roam free
during the day to graze and sleep in the sun.
People say a happy cow gives good milk, so why At Golden Hill we got to work with a
shouldn’t a happy chicken give good eggs? beekeeper. This picture is us smok-
ing and brushing off the bees. This
- Kasey shows that we were not hurting the
bees to get honey.


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Todd County
Youth Participants: Abbey Minke & Brooklyn Levin
Adult Coordinator: Katherine Mackedanza

Let’s Grow Healthy!

The garden is a place where people from the community can grow fresh fruits and
veggies. There is even a wheelchair accessible ramp to the gardens!

- Brooklyn

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Access to Healthy Food Safe Places for Kids to Play
Cenex is the closest convenience store near the high school. Most of the cheap This is a safe place for little kids to play. They can have fun and “work out” at the
food there is unhealthy, but it is the only place to buy food unless you want to drive same time.
all the way across town.
- Abby

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Thank you From Bill Burleson:
The Minnesota Department of Health would like to thank the people who made this
Photovoice project a reality.

Thanks to the hard-working Statewide Health Improvement Program staff who

supported Photovoice in their communities across the state.

Thanks to the tribal and county officials who supported this effort and continue to
do courageous, steadfast work on behalf of their communities.

And, most of all, thanks to the youth who spent their summer looking at their
community and how it affects their health. They live these pictures every day, and by
sharing their photos they have taken an active role in making their community better
for everyone.

William Burleson,
Physical Activity and Nutrition Communications Coordinator, Office of Statewide
Health Improvement Initiatives


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