In general, systems change represents a shift in the way communities make decisions about services and programs, as well as the ways these services are delivered to citizens. This shift is made possible through partnerships and collaboration across communities, including direct community input, stakeholders and agencies. Systems change creates lasting impact on multiple levels of influence.
Our work with the Arizona Children’s Healthy Lifestyle Partnership (AzCHLP) is a great example of a systems change approach.
We have partnered with organizations and leaders who work in various different levels of our local food systems to enact meaningful change for children’s health in Arizona. Our mission is to explore ways to increase access to healthy foods, foster safe places for physical activity and ensure quality healthcare for children across our state. By collaborating with partners and communities, we can better determine and serve the needs of each community.
We love when a group of people can come together to collaborate, plan and enact change in our communities, and we encourage all our readers to get involved.
Systems change happens at all levels, and you don’t have to be a public health professional or farmer to get involved. For each of us to help create more sustainable food systems in Arizona, it all starts at home. By shopping local, visiting farmers markets and exploring Community Supported Agriculture in Arizona, we can all be a part of systems change in our community’s food systems.
Check out this list of Community Supported Agriculture initiatives in Metro Phoenix, and follow this link to find farmers markets and stores that sell local food in your area.
Visit this site to learn more about systems change and to access more resources. Click here to learn more about the habits of a systems thinker.
The Waters Foundation has opportunities for professional development and continuing education focused on systems change, including a web-based course. Click here to explore these opportunities. Johns Hopkins University also offers a continuing education course on systems thinking in public health.
Keep up with our blog for more ways you and your community can get involved in systems change to help build a healthier, happier Arizona.