Hello San Francisco!
My name is Cristina Ibarra and I am one of the new members of the Go Folic! Women’s Nutrition Project Team. I am so excited to be working with everyone at the Department of Public Health on this project and have already felt an outpouring of friendliness and support from the people I have met in MCAH and neighboring departments. Thank you for the warm welcome, and I can’t wait to meet you all!
I come to the Go Folic! Project with experience working in both the education and non-profit sectors, including a diverse array of community outreach and social marketing positions both locally and abroad. In education settings I have created social networking and media platforms for an international body of students from diverse language and cultural backgrounds, and most recently I worked as a Community Coordinator for the local non-profit Independent Arts and Media, where I developed educational workshops, networking events, and engaged in extensive community outreach around the Bay Area. These experiences have honed my skills in outreach, however they have also taught me a valuable lesson: that riding the wave of 2.0 technology must go hand in hand with engaging with people face to face, for it is within these personal interactions that the real seeds of change can start to take root, especially in communities that need it most.
Although health and nutrition have always been part of my background, they have recently become my passion. Over the past year living in San Francisco I have become deeply involved in the local food and nutrition movement, working with experienced gardeners and educators at sites around the city and engaging with community members at a weekly farm stand that redistributes locally grown and organic produce to low-income residents. Working in these settings has made me incredibly hopeful about diet improvements in many San Franciscans but it has also shown me how much farther we need to go.
I feel very strongly about the success of the Go Folic! Campaign because I believe that women’s health is central to the health of our future as a community. Every week at the farm stand women come to gather bunches of folate-rich collard and mustard greens in one hand, while in the other hand their children grasp candy or sugar-loaded soda. By increasing access, awareness, and education to women who need to increase their daily intake of vitamins, we can also help establish good habits and effects that will ripple forward and last much longer than a 1-year supply. The care we take in what we eat and what we put into our bodies affects our own well being, our awareness of the environment, and the health of future generations. I am so excited to come on board as part of the Go Folic! Nutritional Project because for me it is an incredible opportunity to increase education and awareness about making smart choices, not just about the benefits of folic acid, but about building better communities one healthy body at a time.
Looking forward to meeting you all!