Helping My Community Take Responsibility for Their Health

Today I have a special guest on the blog, Cousin T’s daughter Ashleigh. Ashleigh is going to tell you about her Nursing Class project.

I will start by introducing what it is I am doing. I’m a Registered Nurse (RN) taking online classes through the University of South Dakota to obtain my Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN). One of my classes focuses on community health. I chose to study the health of farmers and ranchers in Perkins County, SD, since ranching is my past, present, and future. What I found was that farmers and ranchers in Perkins County have a high prevalence of heart disease related to diet. I also found that this issue of diet is related to our distance from grocery stores with fresh produce available. As part of this class, I had to find a way to “fix” the health problem that I found to be the most common in my community. My intervention was simple, but had more impact than I thought.

A few vegetables I received in my basket. Purple, white and orange carrots, grilling onions, orange bell peppers and green peppers. There were two artichokes too.

The vegetables I received in my basket: Purple, white and orange carrots, grilling onions, orange bell peppers and green peppers. There were two artichokes, a butternut squash and tomatoes too.

I decided to support an organization that is already available to farmers and ranchers in Lemmon, SD called Bountiful Baskets. I found that many people from Bison utilize this program, but those that live farther west and farther south don’t because of distance and simply because they have no other reason to drive an hour and a half, or more, for a $15 dollar basket. What I decided to do was pick 20 people, most of them from the southern and western part of Perkins County. I asked them to order whatever they would like from Bountiful Baskets and I would deliver it to their doorstep, or at least somewhere closer than Lemmon. I had about a 55% response.

Fruit included Mini Pears, Mangos, Bananas and a Mini Watermelon.

Fruit included bananas, mangoes, mini pears and a mini watermelon.

As part of addressing social justice (simply defined as the community helping the community take responsibility for their health) in this intervention, I asked a couple of high schoolers to help me with delivery. This would not only help me out, but I also wanted to get high school organizations in Bison involved in hopes that this program would continue. Ross and Shane were great with helping me to organize boxes and deliver them! Not only did they help me out, but they both said, “That was actually kinda fun!” They also started asking questions about how I started the idea and organized everything, so hopefully it sparked something in them to continue on.

Ashleigh, Shane and Ross ready to deliver Bountiful Baskets.

Ashleigh, Shane and Ross ready to deliver Bountiful Baskets.

Since I no longer reside in Perkins County permanently, it would be hard for me to continue this intervention beyond my class. I did receive a lot of positive feedback. Those that ordered Bountiful Baskets for their first time said that they would do it again if it was delivered, or even if there was a pick-up location in Bison. This is exactly the response I was hoping for! It actually made me feel like I was doing something to improve the health of my friends and neighbors, one randomly filled produce basket at a time!

~Ashleigh G, RN

April 22

I appreciated Ashleigh’s efforts to expose me to Bountiful Baskets. I have heard a lot of good things about the program and have wanted to get a basket for a long time. I fall into the Lemmon is over an hours drive for me category. I was really happy with the produce I received.

Do you participate in Bountiful Baskets? 

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11 Responses to Helping My Community Take Responsibility for Their Health

  1. Erin M says:

    This is a great idea and so interesting!!

  2. Cool post! I love learning of individuals making a difference.
    Nice work, Ashleigh, and best of luck to you in your future endeavors as a nurse!

  3. Jen says:

    Fresh produce is so important and I am spoiled as I garden all year long. Not able to garden and being over an hour to the market would be rough. What a great project she came up, hoping the fresh produce delivery system will continue for you guys.

  4. Kim says:

    How interesting! I am passing this link on to my daughter, a dietitian, who is currently working towards a master’s degree in public health.

    • Robyn says:

      I have to laugh out loud as I gave Ashleigh your blog and told her about the school chef/culinary posts you did.
      Have you heard of Bountiful Baskets before? I know this program is across South Dakota, but I’m not sure where else.

  5. cheri says:

    Interesting post. Its true about us farmers and ranchers living so far from the store. We usually shop once a month.
    My mom has a friend that lives in Lemmon SD. Small world!

  6. Emily Grace says:

    This is a fascinating post, Robyn! Thank you for sharing. I live so close to town that I take for granted how living in more remote areas affects the kinds of groceries you take home. This is a delightful idea, and I’m glad to know Bountiful Baskets is out there!

  7. Jona says:

    LOVE bountiful baskets – so excited for you! This should be shared on the Bountiful Basket FB page, or at least shared with them. Maybe they will share your blog on theirs!

    • Robyn says:


      You are amazing; no wonder we are great friends! I sent the Bountiful Basket gals an e-mail. I honestly never thought of contacting them.

  8. Terryn says:

    I LOVE Bountiful Baskets! It has been a blessing to have one within a half hour, as the nearest grocery store is at least 40 minutes. Bountiful Baskets has helped us have a supply of fresh fruit and veg in the house all the time!

  9. Buttons says:

    Well I think the world is in very good hands with people like Ashleigh’s thinking out side the box and motivating other young people to participate in something that means so much for others. I do hope someone will pick up the idea and make sure the people in your area will be able to get their baskets delivered. Way to go Ashleigh. I guess I have never really thought of this because I am lucky enough to live about twenty minutes from a small town with huge grocery stores. Great post Robyn. Hug B

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