The Plantory
501 W Sixth Street / Suite 250
Lexington KY 40508
Contact Information
Address The Plantory
501 W Sixth Street / Suite 250
Lexington, KY 40508
Phone (859) 229 8400
Contact Name Jeremy Porter
Web and Social Media
Better Bites Good to Go Bike brings healthy snacks and fun physical actvity to youth events in Lexington
At A Glance
IRS Ruling Year 2015
Other ways to donate, support, or volunteer You can support the Tweens Nutrition and Fitness Coalition by becoming a member. Members use their networks, expertise and time to spread our work deep into the community. We have meetings every other month, with . subcommittees meeting during the alternate months.  Donations can also be made by mailing a check to the address above.  
Financial Summary
Mission Statement
      The Tweens Nutrition and Fitness Coalition is dedicated to making healthy eating and physical activity the new normal for Lexington youth where they live, learn and play. Creating environments, systems and policies that support healthy habits reduces childhood obesity and helps Lexington children grow up to live happy, productive lives. 
       Healthy Choices Everywhere includes three initiatives.
      Better Bites. Snack Strong.  Have you noticed the fresh fruit, veggies and dip, frozen bananas and quesadillas and salsa at Lexington public pool concession stands? That's Better Bites! When we first started working with the public pools, the only healthy item on the menu was bottled water and it cost more than soda. We provide technical assistance and marketing support to improve the nutritional quality of menus at venues that cater predominately to youth: public pools, recreational facilities, sports events, after school programs, school concessions, camps, churches,  back pack programs and restaurants.
      The School Wellness Action Plan (SWAP) supports schools in adopting wellness policies and practices that encourage healthy eating and physical activity for students K-12. We support more recess, more physical activity throughout the school day, and not using food to reward children for good behavior and academic performance,
      Good Neighbor Stores work with small stores in food deserts to help them sell more healthy food, as well as become safer, cleaner and more positively engaged in the community.
Background Statement
      The Tweens Nutrition and Fitness Coalition (TNFC) consists of over 30 community members working together to create healthy food and physical activity environments for Lexington tweens. The coalition chose tweens—9-13 year olds– as the priority audience based on their important developmental phase and the limited community services available to them. Though tweens are our priority population, we work with youth of all ages and their primary influencers--parents, schools and community leaders. 
      The TNFC was formed in 2003 with support from the Lexington Fayette County Health Department, the Kentucky Department for Public Health, the Florida Prevention Research Center and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Coalition is currently funded with grants from United Way of the Bluegrass, Community Ventures, Baptist Health and the University of South Florida.
      We use a unique approach called Community Based Prevention Marketing (CBPM) under the guidance of the Florida Prevention Research Center.  CBPM combines a community coalition with its wisdom, connections and influence with sophisticated social marketing tools–-the same tools that commercial marketers use but applied to health and social change. This means we listen a lot before we act. We conduct interviews and focus groups with key stakeholders and members of the priority audience. We comb the literature to see what others have learned about the topic. And we partner extensively! It’s not unusual for us to have 20 partner groups working with us on an intervention. Our ideas and materials are tested before we launch and once our projects are underway, we monitor, tweaking as necessary for maximum impact.
      Why do we do this work? Because Kentucky has the 3rd highest rate of childhood obesity in the nation. We have the highest rate of overweight and obese high school students in the nation.  Thirty eight percent of Lexington youth are considered overweight or obese. Increasing access to healthy food and fun opportunities to be active are key to helping children develop healthy habits. The childhood obesity epidemic undermines the physical and emotional well being of our children, as well as their life expectancy. We believe that kids deserve better.
Impact Statement
Top Accomplishments
  •  In 2014 fruit outsold chicken nuggets 3:1 at Lexington public pools.
  • We started Better Bites at the Bus Stop which brings the Better Bites "Good to Go" Bike (Lexington's first food bike) to school bus stops along with  physical activity equipment and great music.  "Make it at Home" cards are provided with each snack and if kids collect all 10 cards, they receive prizes that encourage healthy behaviors.
  • Produce sales increased by 200% in Lexington Market East End, In addition, 24 What's Cooking events featured local chefs offering healthy prepared options to customers in one of Lexington's food deserts.
  • We listen before we act.  We held 5 focus groups, surveyed 64 community members, interviewed 8 residents and 6 community leaders about a new Good Neighbor Store we are planning in Smithtown neighborhood with Food Chain.  The resulting report will guide the development of the store to meet the needs of this diverse community. 
  • Working with school and community partners we created a School Wellness Action Plan (SWAP) for Fayette County Public Schools. The plan promotes 3 polices: end the use of food as a reward, require at least 20 minutes of recess for all elementary students and serving at least 50% healthy food at school celebrations. 
  • We brought the nationally acclaimed PAL (Physical Activity Training) to Fayette County Public Schools in 2015, training teachers all across the district to become physical activity champions in their schools. This training led to more teachers incorporating physical activity for students in the school day. 
Top Goals
  • Expand Better Bites to 20 more venues.
  • Start Better Bites cooking classes for youth.
  • Work with Food Chain to open a hybrid store that will provide staples for residents in conjunction with a produce processing kitchen. The kitchen will process gleaned fruits and vegetables, sell healthy meal kits and offer classes on healthy food preparation.
  • Hold a school wellness summit that features national speakers creating a successful wellness council in your schools, alternatives to food rewards and creating 60 minutes of physical activity in the school day, including before and after school options.  
Needs Statement
  • Funding to support more staff time so we can expand our reach and impact.
  • Active coalition members who bring networking, creativity and skills to Healthy Choices Everywhere.
  • Active subcommittee members to help with Better Bites Cooking Classes, Good Neighbor Stores and the School Wellness Action Plan.
CEO/Executive Director Statement

      The Kentucky obesity epidemic is striking in its dimensions and frightening in its potential. In Kentucky, a third of children, 60% of women, and 80% of men are overweight or obese. Our overweight and obesity rates are the highest in the nation for teens, the third highest for children, and the sixth highest for adults.  Health care costs attributable to obesity in Kentucky will reach an estimated $2.3 billion dollars in 2013.

     Though Kentucky’s obesity statistics are troubling, sustainable approaches can start to turn the tide of this epidemic. Sustainable approaches change the rules, the physical surroundings and the way day-to-day tasks are accomplished, tipping the scales in favor of healthy choices so we can prevent, rather than treat, childhood obesity.. The Tweens Coalition works to change the environments, systems and policies so the healthy choice becomes the easy choice for Lexington kids.

      Increasing access to healthy food is identified as a key strategy for reducing obesity in Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention, an 2012 expert report from the Institute of Medicine. When we began this work we found a dearth of healthy food options available to Lexington youth in public places: public pools, ball parks, after school shops, KY State Parks. camps, and neighborhood stores. When the Tweens Coalition began working with Parks and Recreation in 2010 to increase the number of healthy offerings on the pool concession stand menu, bottled water was the only healthy item on the menu and it was priced higher than soda. Now the public pool menus include 65% healthy items and they are priced lower than the unhealthy items. Better Bites sales have increased consistently over a four-year period and in the summer of 2014, fruit outsold chicken nuggets 3 to 1 at public pools. The Southern Middle School after-school fundraising snack shop had no healthy offerings prior to had a “Better Bites makeover”. Now snacks sold meet Better Bites’ nutritional specifications. Revenue has dropped an average of $4 a week in this transition, a small financial loss the school partners are happy to bear in exchange for the gain of a healthier school environment.

Board Chair Statement The Tweens Nutrition and Fitness Coalition works to change the systems, policies and environments that affect the eating and activity habits of youth in Lexington to reduce childhood obesity. The work of the Coalition is important because they are doing what no one else in Lexington is doing—advocating for children to be raised in healthy environments rather than environments that undermine their health. The Coalition is uniquely positioned to continue this work as they approach all of their projects in a thoughtful, engaging manner. They do their homework—by examining best practices around the country and listening to their target audiences to achieve a balanced, community-driven approach.

The work of the Coalition is an uphill battle. We are attempting to shift deeply rooted habits of unhealthful eating and sedentary activities. It is increasingly hard to challenge those norms with an incredibly small staff and limited resources. However, given these limitations, the Coalition continues to do tremendous work. We can use your help to make healthy eating and regular physical activity the norm in Lexington!

Service Categories
Secondary Organization Category Community Improvement, Capacity Building / Community Coalitions
Tertiary Organization Category Food, Agriculture & Nutrition / Nutrition
Geographic Areas Served
Fayette County
We focus our work in Fayette County / Lexington, KY.  However, our works have been adopted by communities across the state and country and we are happy to provide consultation to others.
Board Chair
Board Chair Melanie Johnson
Company Affiliation Baptist Health
Term Aug 2013 to July 2016
Board Members
Melanie Johnson Ms, RDBaptist HealthVoting
Dr. Mark Swanson UK College of Public HealthVoting
Dr. Louise Tallen Ahava Spiritual CenterVoting
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 3
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 1
Female 2
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Meeting Attendance % 75%
Written Board Selection Criteria? Under Development
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 66%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 100%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 2
Board Co-Chair
Board CoChair Louise Tallen
Company Affiliation Dell
Term Aug 2013 to July 2016
CEO Comments Our governance runs smoothly.  The Board works well together and we have no stumbling blocks in this regard at this time.We will be recruiting new board members as terms expire. 
CEO/Executive Director
Executive Director Jeremy Porter
Term Start July 2016

Jeremy Porter brings a background in anthropology, church youth group leadership and community gardening to the position. He apprenticed on Three Springs Farm in Nicholas County, KY, subsequently ran Eden’s Gate Farm in Midway, KY and worked for Seedleaf as a garden consultant.. Jeremy coordinated the Good Neighbor Store project and helped bring the first Fresh Stop Market to Lexington. 


Full Time Staff 1
Part Time Staff 4
Volunteers 30
Contractors 2
Retention Rate 0%
Management Reports to Board? No
Staff Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 1
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 4
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Staff Demographics - Gender
Male 1
Female 3
Unspecified 0
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation No
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency N/A
Senior Management Formal Evaluation No
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency N/A
NonManagement Formal Evaluation Yes
Non Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually

      Better Bites, a healthy snacking initiative, was developed in 2011 by the Tweens Nutrition and Fitness Coalition and Lexington Parks and Recreation in an effort to shift the balance of foods, from unhealthy to healthy, at Lexington public pools. Better Bites sales consistently increased over the four year trial period.

      The existing food environment in Lexington is characterized by hyper-palatable, energy-dense, nutrient poor food that is not only inexpensive but extremely accessible. Research suggests that food consumed away from home is less nutritious (i.e., higher in calories, fat and sodium and lower in fiber, calcium, and iron) and is served in larger portions than food prepared at home. The community context plays an important role in shaping health behaviors. Although decisions regarding food-related behavior operate in a series of “nested environments” (i.e., nation, region, community, family, etc.), the greatest capacity for change and collective action arguably lies at the community level. Research suggests that the community food environment provides a particularly powerful site for reducing childhood obesity as it combines a geographic location with groups of people who are linked by social ties, share common interests and cultural characteristics, and engage in interaction in that setting.

     The TNFC has worked with 32 partners to adopt Better Bites and increase the number of healthy offerings on their menus. This includes five public pools, five restaurants, two after-school shops, one ballpark, two summer camps and 17 state park resorts. We have a Better Bites "Good to Go" bike that we bring to bus stops and community events. A nutritionist currently working on contract for 14 hours a week coordinates this work along with the Coalition Director.

Budget 16,600
Population Served , ,

      The Good Neighbor Store (GNS) initiative partners with small stores to bring healthier food to Lexington food deserts. Studies show that people who live closer to stores that carry healthy food have reduced risk of diet-related diseases.

      Our work is based on two years of formative research that included listening to neighborhood youth and adults, store owners and staff, small business consultants, food wholesalers, farmers, police, elected officials and program champions from around the country who have done similar work successfully. A strategy document based on this research was developed and guides the work.

      Stores that agree to make specific changes are designated as “Good Neighbor Stores”. This designation shows the store’s commitment to being a more positive neighborhood influence. The GNS coordinator currently working 20 hours a week helping store staff increase the amount of healthy food they stock and sell, as well as helping them make changes in store safety, appearance, marketing and community relations. The Lexington Market (corner of Race and Third Streets) made significant changes to increase produce sales. With the support of the Good Neighbor Store coordinator, they moved the produce cooler from the back of the store to the front, tripled the produce cooler space, added a counter- top fruit display next to the cash register and added local produce to their offerings. This has resulted in a more than 200% increase in produce sales. In addition, “What’s Cooking?” events are held twice monthly featuring local chefs selling healthy prepared items for a reasonable price.

          Two new projects include working with Food Chain to open a neighborhood store/produce processing center in Smithtown neighborhood on 6th and Jefferson Streets and offering Bluegrass Double Dollars to SNAP recipients to increase their local produce purchasing power.

Budget 26000
Population Served , ,

   The SWAP team works with Fayette County Public Schools to adopt school wellness policies including: 1) end the use of food as reward, 2) ensure that all elementary school students get at least 20 minutes of recess every day and 3) include at least 50% healthy food in school celebrations.

   The Coalition supports schools in implementing these changes with an  online School Wellness Toolkit that includes a variety of practical materials. ( A SWAP You Tube channel features videos with school representatives that have successfully adopted the three proposed policies. A Wellness Program Champion booklet (online and hard copy) lifts up the good work being done in the district and helps other schools replicate those initiatives.

   Special trainings on alternatives to using food as rewards, incorporating 60 minutes of physical activity into a school day and running an effective school wellness council are also offered.

Budget 5200
Population Served , ,
Description Fresh Stops are a successful model for bringing fresh, local produce at affordable prices to low income neighborhoods and churches while developing leadership and business skills among community members. Fresh Stop volunteers purchase produce wholesale from local farmers and community members pick up the produce on a regular schedule and pay for their share on a sliding scale.Shoppers who are eligible for WIC pay $6 per share, those eligible for SNAP pay $12 and those with higher incomes pay $25.Cooking demonstrations and discussion groups help Fresh Stop members unite around the pursuit of a healthy, just food system for all.  The East End Market is held at the Community Ventures Pavilion on the corner of 3rd and Main Streets. The Castlewood Market is held at the New Beginnings Church on Bryan Avenue. 
Population Served , ,
Program Comments
CEO Comments
   Our goal truly is to have "Healthy choices everywhere" in Lexington. The more partners we have on board, the more we can work together to create a community that allows Lexington children to grow up in  environments that make the healthy choice, the easy choice.  The more partners join us, the more momentum we'll have.
   Our challenges include having enough funds to hire adequate staff to increase the breadth and depth of our work.  We are applying to have a VISTA volunteer which could increase our staffing with a full time employee.
   We are extremely excited about the store/produce processing kitchen hybrid that we are working on with Food Chain. We think this innovative model could increase the produce culture and consumption in Lexington significantly by making produce more accessible, affordable and just plain fun!
Plans & Policies
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? No
Organization has a Strategic Plan? No
Management Succession Plan? No
Organization Policy and Procedures Under Development
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy Yes
  • Lexington Fayette County Health Department
  • Baptist Health
  • Parks and Recreation
  • YMCA
  • UK Cooperative Extension
  • UK College of Public Health
  • KY Department for Public Health
  • William Wells Brown and Matrin Luther King Neighborhood Associations
  • United Way
  • Fayette County Public Schools
  • Girls Rock
  • Girls on the Run
  • Food Works
  • Food Chain
  • Bluegrass Community Foundation
  • God’s Pantry
  • Parent Advocates
  • Lexington Market
  • Sammy's Grocery and Deli
Government Licenses
Is your organization licensed by the Government? No
Fiscal Year
Fiscal Year Start July 01, 2015
Fiscal Year End June 30, 2016
Projected Revenue $57,400.00
Projected Expenses $55,400.00
Detailed Financials
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201520142013
Program Expense$72,614$63,944--
Administration Expense$7,793$7,993--
Fundraising Expense$963$7,993--
Payments to Affiliates------
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.801.45--
Program Expense/Total Expenses89%80%--
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue1%----
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201520142013
Total Assets$32,874$49,225--
Current Assets$22,074$33,925--
Long-Term Liabilities------
Current Liabilities------
Total Net Assets$32,874$49,225--
Form 990s
2015 f990ez 2015
2014 Tweens 990 EZ
Audit Documents
2014 accountant's report
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
State Registration Yes
CEO Comments This organization received its 501c3 status in 2015 so does not have three full years of financials at this time.
Address The Plantory
501 W Sixth Street / Suite 250
Lexington, KY 40508
Primary Phone 859 229 8400
CEO/Executive Director Jeremy Porter
Board Chair Melanie Johnson
Board Chair Company Affiliation Baptist Health