Healthy Archuleta features Community Learning and Leadership Circle member Susan Nossaman

Photo courtesy of Food System/Food Equity Coalition
Susan Nossaman with her grandchildren.

By Rose Chavez | Food System/Food Equity Coalition

The Archuleta County Nutrition Security and Health Equity Assessment, which began in December 2021, continues its ongoing work to engage the community through a community learning and leadership circle (CLLC) which meets weekly.

The CLLC is comprised of a diverse group of community members from Archuleta County who have committed to contributing to the design of the assessment during this first phase of the project, which will conclude at the end of June. CLLC members engage in learning through module presentations facilitated by Healthy Archuleta and partner organizations on the concepts of nutrition security and health equity.

Each week, CLLC members helped inform assessment with respect to 1) access and utilization of primary/preventive health care (coverage, timeliness, manpower and services) and 2) strengthening our community food system (food production, processing, marketing and distribution, food procurement and preparation, nutritious food consumption, food security, food waste prevention and resource recovery).

A community-based participatory approach is used to capture the voices and lived experiences of people related to access to food and primary/preventive health care in Archuleta County. Additionally, food and health care organizations will have the opportunity to share information regarding primary/preventive health care and food efforts.

Healthy Archuleta shares individual profiles of CLLC community members who serve their community in this capacity. This week we feature CLLC member Susan Nossaman:

1. Health is the new wealth. What does this mean for your health and the health of your family in Archuleta County? “For me, health means doing what is possible to prevent chronic disease. I know diabetes runs in my family, so I try to eat a balanced diet and exercise. It’s easy and tempting to eat a lot of fast food because it’s cheap and convenient, but I try to avoid it as much as possible.

2. What are your ties to Archuleta County? “My ties to Archuleta County go back a long way. On my father’s side of the family, his great-uncle was one of the first white people to come here. parents passed through Pagosa en route to Animas City. My great-grandfather, a Civil War veteran, took advantage of soaking in the spring water to help ease the pain of his war wounds. Their daughter, my grandmother, came to Pagosa as a teacher at the school in Bayles and married my grandfather who came to Pagosa to his farm. My mother was one of their four daughters. My father grew up in Arboles, which was about as far west as you can get in Archuleta County, that place is now under Lake Navajo.

3. What do you see as your role within the CLLC for the assessment of nutritional security and health equity? “As a CLLC member, I would like to see our county become more self-sufficient in producing our own food. Years ago my grandparents always had big gardens and preserved the vegetables to last as long as possible during the winter months because they couldn’t make it into town every time they needed of something. It’s nice to have the wide variety of foods you find in a grocery store, but there are some basic things that grow here that can also be very healthy and good. I also believe that CLLC’s efforts to learn more about health equity is really important to the county. Our research into the system and how we might change things so that everyone can access basic health care is extremely important. »

4. What is your vision of a healthy Archuleta? “My vision of a healthy Archuleta is one where people don’t have to worry about food insecurity or getting basic health care.”

5. In your opinion, what is critical in CLLC’s learning and leadership dynamics for this evaluation? “I think the critical part of our assessment will be to really reach as many people in the community as possible from as many different demographics as possible. CLLC cannot afford to make a cursory assessment if it expects to have a meaningful impact on nutrition security and health equity.

For more information, please contact us at [email protected] or (401) 371-3227. To make a donation to support the work of Healthy Archuleta, doing business as FSFE — Food Coalition, please visit:

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