Mass In Motion Kicks Off in Northern Berkshires

Nov 16, 2012

Mark Fenton talks to the crowd at the Mass In Motion kick off event on the campus of MCLA in North Adams
Credit WAMC

Today in North Adams, members of the community and local governments came together to kick-off a state-funded wellness program that focuses on community health and planning. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard attended the event and filed a report.

Today, members of the North Berkshire Community celebrated the kick-off of Mass in Motion,  a statewide effort with a goal to promote fitness to battle obesity, chronic disease, and to encourage healthy, active living.

The Massachusetts Department of Health is funding the program in North Adams, Adams, and Cheshire for five years. Amanda Chilsson is the North Berkshire Mass In Motion Coordinator. She said that although the program began earlier this year, this is the first opportunity to bring the message to a cross-section of the community.

Mass In Motion has six core principles – Providing safe routes to school by promoting the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School Program and increase school enrollment in the program, improving school nutrition and increase local foods being served in schools, establishing healthy markets by working with small shops and convenience stores, assist food pantries to increase healthier meals, utilize and maximize the potential of farmers markets, and including health elements in municipal planning.

Mark Fenton, a professor at Tufts University and advocate for healthy communities spoke at the kick-off breakfast. He said living healthy goes beyond telling people they need to eat healthier and get more exercise.  

In his presentation, Fenton showed photos of areas around North Berkshire County that need infrastructure improvements, including the need for safe crosswalks, bike lanes, and smart planning.

He also had the crowd of town officials, planners, elementary, high school, and college students, and other members of the community brainstorm ways they could improve their own cities and towns.

Nat Karns, Director of the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission was one of the attendees, and he said that in order to make changes suggested at the kickoff, the community needs to become active at the local level.

The Department of Public Health’s Mass in Motion program in Northern Berkshire County is being coordinated by the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition.

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