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Six South Dakota communities making a difference

See how communities are creating healthier tomorrows.

Where would you be without your hometown? It’s where your friends and family live, play, learn and grow. And, it’s the community that makes your business possible. So, it's vital that your hometown is not only economically thriving, but also as healthy as possible.

With that in mind, take a look at how six South Dakota communities are working to make positive and lasting changes to enhance well-being and make healthy choices easier.

Healthy HometownSM Powered by Wellmark works with communities to help identify ways they can help residents grow in the areas of eating well, moving more and feeling better.

Six communities in South Dakota recently made amazing progress toward these goals and were recognized for their efforts. Healthy Hometown and Good & Healthy South Dakota announced the inaugural 2018 Healthy Hometown Community award winners on Oct. 17, 2018, during the Chronic Disease Partners/Better Choices, Better Health® Meeting in Mitchell, South Dakota.

Here are the highlights:


Added 1.25 miles to its current trail system

Hosted monthly healthy cooking events at the teaching kitchen in the new library

Provided healthy food and beverage options to students, with 125 lunches served daily Monday through Friday and 7,000 total served over the summer

Try it! Make the healthy choice the easy choice by stocking the vending machines with good-for-you options or emphasizing healthy hydration with bottle fillers.

Dell Rapids

Expanded two miles of trail and created enhancements along trails using benches, picnic tables and lighting

Made walkability along HWY 77 a priority in future improvement projects

Introduced healthy food options through demonstrations and taste testing

Try it! Start a wellness committee that focuses on ways to incorporate eating well, moving more, and feeling better into your workplace.

Fort Pierre

Started a community garden with 24 raised beds, providing fresh produce to more than 150 senior nutrition program recipients and at least 80 other individuals

Established a weekly farmers’ market with 40 vendors and 300–400 attendees each week

Rehabilitated a trail, installed a bike repair station, and resurfaced 5,300 feet of recreational trail impacting 150–200 people daily

Try it! Provide information on how to start a garden, or better yet, if your workplace allows it, start a garden on-site.


Created an edible orchard by planting 24 new fruit trees

Rehabilitated and widened 1,600 feet of trail

Expanded the Go Green and Clean program in which 235 volunteers representing 30 organizations collected more than 4,000 pounds of trash

Try it! Host a volunteer fair in your workplace to make connections between employee interests and ways to help the community.

Rapid City

Expanded community gardens and planted edible landscaping

Improved and expanded an existing trail within the town by widening the path and replacing broken concrete

Established four new food pantries to collect and distribute healthy food to people in need

Try it! Hold a food drive to collect healthy items for a local food pantry.

Sioux Falls

Expanded a bike trail by more than a mile to connect 40,000 residents west of the interstate to 30 miles of uninterrupted trails

Implemented a “road diet,” re-channeling lanes and reducing the width of the road in front of the City Center building, to improve safety and provide space for different modes of travel

Passed an ordinance establishing a nicotine-free policy for city properties and in parks during youth events impacting 183,000 residents

Try it! If you don't have one already, adopt a smoke-free policy in your workplace. Provide resources for those looking to quit through smoking cessation resources.

Get started in your own community today!

Creating a healthy hometown takes more than simply clicking your heels together, closing your eyes and making a wish. It involves creating adoptable and lasting changes to your community’s built environment to help make the healthy choice the easy choice.

Wondering how to get your community involved? Visit the Healthy HometownSM Powered By Wellmark page to learn more and get started!

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