Crow Wing Energized
Healthy Choices

Healthy Choices

Purpose: To develop sustainable strategies that encourages the population of Crow Wing County to make healthy choices.


  1. Increase access to healthy food choices.
  2. Increase active living opportunities and active lifestyles.
  3. Promote and support healthy environments.

The Healthy Choices Goal Group meets the first Tuesday of the month from 7:30-9am.

To get involved with this Goal Group please contact co-chairs

Mark Ostgarden or

Joanna Collins

Approaches: Meet regularly to develop and promote health and wellness options for the aging population in Crow Wing County. Click to download PDF with detailed information about The Guiding Principles. Aging Coalition Guiding Principles



University of Minnesota Extension’s SNAP-Ed program makes the healthy choice the easy choice for Minnesotans with limited financial resources.

Click to download PDF of Food Resources in Crow Wing County FoodResourcesBrochure 2017


SUMMER PROGRAM FOR FREE MEALS FOR KIDS through Operation Sandwich and Schools


Provides kids with a simple bag lunch Monday – Thursday during summer school break.


Operation Sandwich

June 4 – August 30

There are no income requirements, no collecting of names, and lunches are free to the community.

All are welcome! 2018 program presenting supporters are Cuyuna Regional Medical Center and Essentia Health.


Brainerd/Baxter Locations

Lowell Elementary, Monday – Thursday 11:40 am to 12:05 pm

Garfield Elementary, Monday – Thursday 12:40 to 1:05 pm

Harrison Elementary, Monday – Thursday 12:25 to 12:50 pm

Whipple Beach Park, Baxter, Monday – Thursday 11:55 am to 12:20 pm

Barrows Town Hall, Monday – Thursday 11:50 am to 12:15 pm

Stoneybrook, Monday – Thursday 12:30 to 12:55 pm

Gregory Park, Monday – Thursday 12:15 to 12:40

Kiwanis Park, Monday – Thursday 11:45 am to 12:10 pm


To volunteer for this United Way of Crow Wing & Southern Cass Counties program, sign up online


The Book Wagon

Take a Bite Out of Boredom with Books

On Thurdays, the Book Wagon follows Operation Sandwich to Lowell, Garfield and Harrison schools and distributes new and gently used, age appropriate books to the children picking up lunches.


Reading recovery + ISD 181 will have open libraries for children to come, hang out and grab a book at the elementary schools noted above.


ISD 181 Kids Summer Food Program

Washington Education Building

Cafeteria is located in the basement.

Monday – Friday, June 4 – August 24

Breakfast 8:30 to 9 am

Lunch 11:30 am to 12:30 pm

For children 18 and under.


Cuyuna Lakes Lunch Bunch

Nutritious lunches will be available to area youth again this summer through the Cuyuna Lakes Lunch Bunch, a free program organized by area churches and Cuyuna Regional Medical Center.

The lunches are available on weekdays starting Monday, June 4, through Friday, August 31, except Wednesday, July 4. They will be at the following locations:

11:15 to 11:35 a.m. in Deerwood Veteran’s Park across from the American Legion;

11:45 a.m. to 12:05 p.m. at Crosby Food Shelf, 302 Cross Ave.; and

12:15 to 12:35 p.m. in Ironton at Grandpa’s Park behind Wells Fargo.

Last year, a total of 4,861 lunches were served through the program. That amount compares to 4,650 lunches in summer 2016; 3,820 in 2015 and 900 in 2014, the program’s first year.

For more information or to contribute to the Lunch Bunch, contact Ellen Brandt at St. Vincent de Paul,


Approaches: Healthy Concessions, Vending machines, Farm to school, School gardens.

Click to view child-friendly clip

Click to download breakfast idea flyer 1-Breakfast


Approaches: Active Recess, Before and after school activity, PE curriculum, Safe Route to School

Click link below to read Brainerd Dispatch article about active classrooms 


Approaches: Safe indoor and outdoor space for activity, Breast feeding education/training & storage, Healthy food options/gardens in the day care setting.

Click to download PDFs to help improve the health of children in your day care center Child Care Partnership Options or to encourage active play for day care centers or at home Active_play_earlychildhood

Click to view the webinar that was done for child care centers on Oct. 27. Start at 1:50, approximately one hour long.


Approaches: Food Shelves (click here for a link to Promoting Healthy Eating at Food Shelves), Farmer’s Market availability & possible EBT addition, City gardens.



Make healthy choices and support farmers by purchasing fresh locally grown produce!

Click to download Farmers Market PDF CWE farmers market list


TUESDAYS in Brainerd | 8:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. to mid-October

Franklin Arts Center Parking Lot 1001 Kingwood St, Brainerd |

TUESDAYS in Brainerd | 3:00 – 7:00 p.m. starting June 26

Laurel Street Parking Lot Between S. 6th Street and S. 7th St, Brainerd (616 Laurel) |

(218) 828-2307 (ask for Jared) | contact for free vendor entry


THURSDAYS in Nisswa | 8:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. to October 27

American Legion Parking Lot 25807 Main St, Nisswa


FRIDAYS in Baxter | 8:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. to mid-October

Viking Land Harley-Davidson parking lot, 7915 Highway 210, Baxter |


FRIDAYS in Pine River | 2:30 – 5:30 p.m. May 25 to September 28

Pine River Market Square 3rd & Barclay, Downtown Pine River |


SATURDAYS at Ideal Corners | 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Farmers’ Market in Ideal, 34988 Co Rd 39, Pequot Lakes

Accepts Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT)


SATURDAYS at Deerwood | 9:00 a.m. – Noon

The Backyard Greenhouse, 22250 County Road 135, Deerwood

Find info on FaceBook


SATURDAYS in Crosby | 9 a.m. to Noon June 2 to October 13

Cuyuna Range Farmers Market, Main Street Plaza at the corner of Cross and Main

Accepts Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT)

Find info on FaceBook



Brainerd Lakes Salvation Army Food Shelf, 208 S 5th St, Brainerd | 218-829-1120 | Tues. – Fri. 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Cuyuna Range Food Shelf, 302 Cross Ave, Crosby | 218-546-7444 | 2nd & 3rd Wed. 7:30 – 9:30 a.m.

Crosslake Emergency Food Shelf, 34212 CR 3, Crosslake | 218-692-1004 | 1st & 3rd Fri. 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Emily Area Food Shelf, 20948 Co. Rd. #1, Emily | 218-763-3097 | 3rd Wed. 9:30 – 11 a.m. & Thurs. 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. & 1st Wed. 9:30 – 11 a.m. bread & produce only

Garrison Area Care Givers Food Shelf, 9535 Madison St., Garrison | 320-692-5399 | Tues. & Thurs. 1 – 5 p.m.

Lakes Area Food Shelf, 29280 State Hwy 371, Pequot Lakes | 218-568-8474 | Tues. & Thurs. 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.


Click to download flyer with ideas to lower your food costs SmartFood-Feb2015


Approaches: Walkable & Bikeable Communities, Safe Routes to School, Project Revive.

Click for information about City of Baxter Parks and trails

Click for information about City of Brainerd trails

Click for information about Cuyuna Lakes mountain bikes trails

St Mathias Park Directions 001Click for information about St. Mathias Park Trails with Heritage Walking Route highlighted SMP trail 4548 CR 121 (7-5-15)












Approaches: Smoke-free multi-unit housing policy change

Click to download PDF information from the CDC about second hand smoke 2nd hand smoke handout


Approaches: Increase access to evidence-based lifestyle change and prevention programs. (1. NDPP 2. Matter of Balance 3. Tai Chai 4. Silver Sneakers 5. Living Well with Chronic Conditions)