Volume 17 January 2023

Review of SHIP Activities in 2022

New Web Address:


Healthy Eating Initiatives

"Make the Healthy Choice, the Easy Choice"
Cass County Community Gardens

Summary of Community Gardening Projects

The aim of our Community Gardens is to provide greater access to fresh produce, with secondary goals of getting regular exercise and connecting with others. All eight SHIP supported Community Gardens continued to thrive with significant improvements in the Pine River, Remer, Hackensack, and Onigum and Longville Gardens. We made a big effort to promote Natural Gardening in 2022, "no till" and the use of cover crops and mulch to cover and protect soil, retain water and avoid runoff. Please go here to see up-to-date photos:


Thanks to funding by SHIP, local Community Groups, and the NACD grant we saw significant upgrades:

Onigum Garden

Due to flooding at the roadside location, this garden was completely moved from the road to a spot next to the Community Center. Jim Etzel, Polly Bedeau, local volunteers and Simon Whitehead helped to get this accomplished. Polly wanted solid gates!

Remer Community Garden

The Remer Community Garden was once again expanded with 600 feet of fencing now enclosing the garden, extensive irrigation installed, twelve trees planted in the orchard of different varieties, blueberry bushes, and various seed trials yielding wonderful produce and flowers. This garden donated produce to three food shelves. Congrats to Laura, Matt, Curt, Marcia and Noreen ....

Pine River Community Garden

Many Improvements to the Pine River Garden this year, most notably the laying of water pipes so that each part of the garden has its own water supply, thanks to Lance and Jim. The new Orchard went in at the back and the fencing was fixed, and chicken wire was attached around the outside, all due to Jim Etzel and grant from Cass Water and Soil District. Robin Wiese also stepped up and did a lot watering and planting in the fall.

Hackensack Community Garden

The Hackensack Community Garden finally solved their water problem! Freeman Drilling was brought in to install a professionally drilled well and pump. Jim Etzel added the water towers and for now we use a generator to fill these tanks.

Longville Area Community Garden

The Longville Area Garden continued to do very well, expanding again and adding a bee hive, a dog park, six apple trees and a walking trail. Many thanks to Wabedo Township and the Longville Lions for their efforts here, especially Carol Johnson, Paul Harwig and David Owens.

NACD Grant

In 2022 SHIP worked closely with the Cass Soil and Water District and applied to the National Association of Conservation Districts for Community Garden Funds. In April we received a grant worth $48,000, paid in quarterly sums of $12,000. This had to have a 25% local match which we achieved. The overall goal was to promote Natural Gardening Techniques, through education using the Community Gardens as a learning tool. However, we were able to use 40% on Materials and Contracting which really helped.

Much of the work on this grant was contracted to The Earth is Our Home Environmental Solutions, and its owner Jim Etzel. He conducted workshops around the county and visited schools to spread the word about Natural Gardening. Jim also did the majority of the physical work in many of the gardens for which we are eternally grateful . The EIOH Logo to the left .....

Jim Etzel: earthsteward1@gmail.com



All Meals since March 2020 have been served in "to go" boxes.

The THANKSGIVING MEAL served over 460 people in two hours


from 4-6:00pm - ALL WELCOME

from 4-6:00pm Come One Come all
Cass County Food Shelf Coalition

The Food Shelf Coalition meets with Food Shelf Directors, SNAP Ed and Second Harvest once a month at rotating sites. Pictured here are Directors from Hackensack, Longville, Walker, Pillager, Pine River, Remer as well as SNAP Ed Carolyn and Second Harvest Jan. Longville transitioned to a Supershelf, and Remer is starting this process. Our Food Shelves are wonderful, colorful, welcoming community assets who treat clients with love and respect. SHIP also purchased Feather Signs for some food shelves.

Cass County Master Gardener Program

Cass County Master Gardeners were very busy in 2022 contributing to gardening all around the County. In addition to 18 that were active, 2 more recruits will do their course in 2023. The work they do is outstanding and we hope to get some of them into the school next spring.

Contact Simon for more details: 952-220-1060

Community Active Living

Hackensack Crosswalk

It is finally installed! Many thanks to Rob Triplett for installing this unit in his first week on the job as Hackensack's new Public Maintenance Director.

Pedal Pine River and Beyond

That is the name of the effort behind making Pine River a Bike Friendly City. Cass County SHIP is working with bike enthusiasts, The City, The Chamber, and local businesses to apply in the future to become an official Bike Friendly City. This year SHIP provided new Bike Racks around town and we had lots of meetings, a Bike Friendly Workshop, our first Community Bike Ride and our first Bike Rodeo at the school.

Bike Friendly Walker

Great news from Bike Friendly Walker. We were just upgraded to a SILVER LEVEL bike friendly city! This is an awesome testament to the City of Walker (Hope Fairchild) the Leech Lake Chamber ( Cindy and Roxy) and to the many Biking Enthusiasts that are part of the Bike Friendly Walker group. In addition to the wonderful new Trailhead Bathrooms, Walker also hosted a large Community Bike Ride (The Spring Fling), the Minnesota Bike Tour, and a successful Bike Rodeo at the school. We continue to pursue a potential multiuse tunnel on the south side of town, and additional improvements for bikers. Cass County SHIP has been a supporter of all of these events.

More Fitness Opportunities in Cass County

Did you know that the Following Fitness Centers in the Cass County Region are ready and waiting for for you to go work out?

Walker, Longville, Pine River, Remer, Park Rapids, Nisswa, Bemidji, Baxter, Brainerd, Staples, Crosslake

Cass County Memory Café Continues in 2022

(meetings resumed in Person)

2nd Tuesday of every month 10:3am at Paws and Claws.

The Memory Cafe in Cass County is looking to add participants. A Memory Cafe is a great place for folks living with Memory Loss or caring for some one with Memory Loss, including Dementia and Alzheimer's disease, to meet and socialize and take a trip down Memory Lane. Some of the activities we did in 2022 include:

  • Rock Painting with Sarah Stawarski
  • Planting with Jim Etzel
  • Beekeeping with Tara Stang
  • Bingo with prizes from Faith in Action
  • County Financial Assistance with Marla Sullivan
  • Falls Prevention with Simon
  • Antique Household Items Game
  • The Memory Café is supported by the following agencies

Cycling Without Age in Walker, Hackensack and Pine River

The Walker Lions have now purchased a Trailer thru the COVID Relief Grants to safely transport the Trishaw. Over 200 free rides were given in 2022. Thanks to these amazing pilots: John Parr, Steve Swor, Gary Walworth, Rose Weichmann, Carol Keuber, and Chris Worthington.

For information or future donations, Contact Simon Whitehead at 952-220-1060

Cass County Falls Prevention Taskforce

The Falls Prevention Task Force, a Cass County SHIP Initiative, decided to get out and about in 2022 and attended several workshops around the County


Cass County SHIP continued to partner with two companies on Employee Wellness Initiatives. Next Innovations of Walker and Mann Lake of Hackensack are embarking on projects to improve: Nutrition, Safety, Activity and Fitness, Mental Health, Tobacco Cessation and Breastfeeding Support. Next Innovations held an Arts and Health Fair in July. Mann Lake was unable to get the Crosswalk in due to County 40 being resurfaced in October, but they are able to use the new Speed Sign to slow traffic up.

Tobacco Cessation for Youth and Adults

SHIP continues to promote Tobacco cessation as well as anti Vaping strategies in the Community and School settings .

New Grant Cycle - New Structure

SHIP 2022-2026

In November 2022, MDH restructured the SHIP workplan as follows:

  • Active Living Strategy became - Minnesota Moves Context
  • Healthy Eating Strategy became - Minnesota Eats Context
  • Tobacco Free Strategies became - Minnesota Breathes
  • Healthcare and Mental Health became - Well Being

In addition to these changes, MDH added both Statewide and Flexible Activities to be developed and implemented which each County can decide upon. Some newer projects to be worked on in 2023 include:

  • FOOD RX (food as medicine)
  • Developing two new Farmers Markets
  • Safe Routes to School in Pine River
  • Demonstration Projects to make downtown Walker safer
  • The new Community Cares Wellness Fair in Pine River
LiveHealthy Cass County | Statewide Health Improvement Partnership
Cass County Health Human and Veteran's Services 218-547-6843