Prior to becoming a Mass in Motion community in 2012, the City of Somerville established Shape Up Somerville, a city wide campaign to increase daily physical activity and healthy eating through programming, physical infrastructure improvements, and policy work, in 2003. The campaign targets all segments of the community, including schools, city government, civic organizations, community groups, businesses, and other people who live, work, and play in Somerville.
In addition, Somerville is part of the Somerville Board of Health 6 City Tobacco/Alcohol Initiative, and receives CTG funding to implement smoke-free multi-family housing initiatives.
Restaurants are a vital part of many communities’ economic bases and draw visitors from around the Metro Boston region. Local restaurants rather than chain establishments dominate the market in these municipalities. Partnering with local restaurants to offer healthier options in a healthy dining program will improve nutrition for residents and visitors. The goal of this initiative, by September 29, 2014, is to increase the number of full service restaurants in Somerville that offer and promote healthier dining options (including fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lower sodium/no salt added meals, smaller portions) through an established healthy dining program. This strategy will improve residents’ access to healthy, affordable fresh fruits and vegetables, increasing the number of people who consume the recommended amount of produce each day.
Shape Up Somerville has 40 Shape Up Approved Restaurants.
Farmers markets that are located in convenient areas and that feature culturally appropriate options can promote better nutrition for lower income and urban residents in these communities. The goal of this initiative is to reduce barriers to access and increase utilization of farmer’s markets for low income residents. This strategy will improve residents’ access to healthy, affordable fresh fruits and vegetables, increasing the number of people who consume the recommended amount of produce each day.
Shape Up Somerville has a two Mobile Market sites during the summer every Saturday at the Mystic Housing Development, 530 Mystic Ave, and the North Street Playground in West Somerville.
Safe routes to School programs promote healthy alternative ways for children to get to and from school. Implementation of a safe routes to school program provides more opportunities for children to walk and cycle more to improve their physical health. The goal of this initiative, by September 29, 2014, is to increase the number of schools in Somerville with an active safe routes to school program.
Somerville has all seven K-8 schools enrolled in the state Safe Routes to School Program.
Photovoice is a participatory action research method by which people can identify, represent, and enhance their community through a specific photographic technique. Photovoice, as recognized evaluation technique, provides a process to empower youth in Somerville to voice their stories around community safety to people that make decisions over their daily lives.
In summer 2012, twelve Somerville youth took part in a Community Safety Photovoice project facilitated by the Center for Teen Empowerment, which highlighted aspects of the community that made the youth action researchers feel safe or unsafe.