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Local view: Saturday’s wellness day event aims to make Duluth a healthier community

Look around, Northland, a culture of community wellness is taking root. Note the community gardens, the success of healthy restaurant options like the Duluth Grill, an award-winning bike trail system, sustainable practices, local businesses launching employee wellness programs, the recent announcement of the Whole Foods Co-Op that it was opening a second location in West Duluth, and St. Louis County and the city of Duluth taking leadership roles in addressing employee health issues.

As the World Health Organization has noted, characteristics of a healthy community include a clean, safe physical environment; a provision for basic needs; an optimal level of appropriate, high-quality and accessible public health services; and a diverse, vital and innovative economy.

A successful collaborative effort to create healthier communities is fed by passionate people who share a common vision of creating a healthy community. This is what you will find when you attend the fifth annual Northland Community Wellness Day event on Saturday from

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Romano Gym at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

As a holistic health practitioner, I have learned that one of the most important factors in optimum health and well-being is a sense of connection to community. I also realize a healthy community is more than a group of healthy individuals. Community wellness is about the ability and willingness of people to act together in good times and in bad and in ways that benefit everyone.

Northland Community Wellness Day is a perfect example: The city of Duluth, St. Louis County and UMD Health Services present an event that promotes a healthy community by bringing together more than

60 local businesses and organizations, providing information and resources on health and wellness, public safety, environmental awareness, financial literacy and more.

This free event also offers informational workshops and the opportunity to meet local elected public officials. The Family Fun and Fitness Center features exciting activities during the event, including rock climbing, a bouncy house, the “zoomobile” and the chance to play with UMD athletes and mascots.

In every community there is work to be done; in every heart there is the power to do it. See you on Saturday.

Michelle Russell of Duluth is a holistic health care practitioner and a volunteer with the Northland Community Wellness Day Planning Committee (