It’s springtime in Independence. That means having the chance to be active with the Independence Health Department through The Mile Starts Here program. It also means the chance to get fresh fruits and vegetables at of the Independence Farmers’ and Crafters’ Market and the Drumm Farm Market.
This year marks the 5th year of The Mile Starts Here walking program, and the Department is changing things up. You can still participate in the original The Mile Starts Here, a weekly walking group for community members. The walks will be led by community volunteer Richard McKie. He has participated in the walks from the beginning of the program. The first walk of 2016 will be on May 4 and will continue every Wednesday at 9 a.m. through the end of October. On the first walk of every month, the Health Department will be joining Richard and the community. This year the routes will be:
• First, third, and fifth Wednesday of the month: Waterfall Park at 4501 S. Bass Pro Drive. Meet in the parking lot behind Bass Pro by the playground.
• Second Wednesday of the month: McCoy Park at 800 N. Bess Truman Parkway. Meet at the gazebo, across the street from the park.
• Fourth Wednesday of the month: Independence Athletic Complex at 17800 E. Salisbury Road.
The Mile Starts Here 2.0 will also be a walking and physical activity program for community members with new times, dates, and activities. This is a great way to join the Health Department and Independence Parks and Recreation in various activities throughout the summer to get your heart pumping, your feet moving, and help you stay healthy. The program will kick off in May and continue with four events per month throughout the spring, summer, and fall. All events are open to everyone and a great deal of fun! Join the Health Department at The Mile Starts Here 2.0 events listed below:
• Wednesday, May 4 at 9 a.m. – One-mile walk at Waterfall Park, 4501 S. Bass Pro Drive.
• Thursday, May 12 at 6 p.m. – A two-mile walk at Waterfall Park, 4501 S. Bass Pro Drive.
• Saturday, May 21 at 8 a.m. – The Health and Heritage 5K Walk looping through the Independence Square and the Truman Heritage District. The walk will start at the Bingham-Waggoner Estate, 313 W. Pacific Ave. People can come to the Bingham-Waggoner Estate anytime 8-9:30 a.m. to begin the walk, finishing the event around 10 a.m.
• Tuesday, May 24 at 9 a.m. – Bring your dog (must be on a leash) for a mile walk at Santa Fe Park Trail, 2900 S. Santa Fe Road. Meet in the parking lot near the entrance from Santa Fe Road.
• Wednesday, June 1 at 9 a.m. – One-mile walk at Waterfall Park, 4501 S. Bass Pro Drive.
• Thursday, June 9 at 8:30 p.m. – Riverwalk at Adventure Oasis Water Park, 2100 S. Hub Drive. (Make sure to wear your swimsuit! First 50 people are free, $2 per person after)
• Saturday, June 11 at 9 a.m. – Kids Fishing Derby/Family Walk at George Owens (with Independence Parks and Recreation), 1601 S. Speck Road.
• Tuesday, June 28 at 9 a.m. – Parents and Strollers walk at Little Blue Trail, entrance near Coldstone Creamery, 20140 E. Jackson Drive.
• Wednesday, July 6 at 9 a.m. – One-mile walk at Waterfall Park, 4501 S. Bass Pro Drive.
• Thursday, July 14 at 6 p.m. – 5-10 mile, easy, family-friendly bike ride around downtown Independence. Bike and helmet required. Meet at Peddlers Bicycle Shop, 139 E. Lexington Ave.
• Tuesday, July 26 at 9 a.m. – Celebrating Educators walk at McCoy Park, 800 N. Bess Truman Parkway.
• Saturday, July 30 at 8 a.m. – Independence School District Free 5K, William Chrisman, 1223 N. Noland Road.
• Wednesday, August 3 at 9 a.m. – One-mile walk at Waterfall Park, 4501 S. Bass Pro Drive.
• Wednesday, August 10 at 9 a.m. – One-mile walk at McCoy Park, 800 N. Bess Truman Parkway.
• Thursday, August 18 at 6 p.m. - 5-10 mile, easy, family-friendly bike ride around downtown Independence. Bike and helmet required. Meet at Peddlers Bicycle Shop, 139 E. Lexington Ave.
• Tuesday, August 23 at 9 a.m. – Homeschool and pre-school Field Day at Independence Athletic Complex, 17800 E. Salisbury Road.
• Wednesday, September 7 at 9 a.m. – One-mile walk at Waterfall Park, 4501 S. Bass Pro Drive.
• Thursday, September 8 at 6 p.m. – Remembrance/Hero’s Walk around the Square, meet at the Historic Truman Courthouse, 112 W. Lexington Ave.
• Saturday, September 17 at 8 p.m.– Full Moon Hike with Independence Parks and Recreation at George Owens (when the moon comes out, time will vary), 1601 S. Speck Road.
• Tuesday, September 27 at 9 a.m. – Yoga in the Park, Rotary Park, 10615 E. 24th St. S.
• Wednesday, October 5 at 9 a.m. – One-mile walk at Waterfall Park, 4501 S. Bass Pro Drive.
• Wednesday, October 12 at 9 a.m. – One-mile walk at McCoy Park, 800 N. Bess Truman Parkway.
• Thursday, October 13 at 6 p.m. – Scavenger hunt and costume contest at Waterfall Park, 4501 S. Bass Pro Drive.
• Tuesday, October 25 at 9 a.m. – Dog walk (must be on a leash) at Santa Fe Park Trail, 2900 S. Santa Fe Road. Meet in the parking lot near the entrance from Santa Fe Road.
Along with the numerous chances to be active, there are also many opportunities to eat healthy in Independence. Everyone can shop for locally grown produce, baked goods, jams/jellies, farm-fresh eggs, and handmade crafts at the Independence Farmers’ and Crafters’ Market. It is located in the northwest corner of West Walnut and South Liberty streets. The market will be open from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday beginning May 7 through the end of October. It will also be open from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesdays beginning June 1 through the end of October. The only exception is the Wednesday and Saturday before Labor Day when the market will be closed.
Buyers can use their SNAP benefits (Food Stamps/EBT) at the Independence Farmer’s and Crafters’ Market on all of the fresh produce available. Farmers and craft vendors interested in selling their homegrown fruits, vegetables, flowers, plants, or handmade crafts can contact Market Master Joe Antoine at 816-591-3953.
The Drumm Farm Market will also be open and is a great place to purchase locally grown foods. It is located at the Drumm Farm Center for Children at 3210 Lee’s Summit Road, Independence, MO 64055. The new market building is open from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. every Saturday, May through September. It is also open on Wednesdays year-round from 4-7 p.m.
Drumm Farm Market staff plant and harvest a three-acre garden, care for small livestock, and operate a year-round market. Children on campus participate in farm operations, giving them an opportunity to connect with the environment and learn valuable life skills. The market sells produce, eggs, pork, lamb, honey, jams and jellies, and baked goods. For more information on the Drumm Farm Market, call 816-373-3434 or email info@DrummForKids.org.
So come on out, and explore the healthier side of Independence. Stroll through our picturesque parks, eat our fresh and local produce, and enjoy the city we call home. For more information on The Mile Starts Here or the Farmers’ Markets, contact the Independence Health Department at 816-325-7185.
Andrew Warlen, MPH, is the director of the Independence Health Department.