Access to Healthy Food Options

Cities have powerful economic development tools that can be used to increase options for eating healthier and moving more, especially in neighborhoods that currently offer few healthy options. Cities are putting these tools to use to attract healthy food retail and to support and protect community gardens and farmers’ markets. This is described in the Campaign’s factsheet Be a City with Healthy Food Options.

Attract retailers that offer fresh fruits and vegetables and healthy staple items

To attract grocery stores, produce markets, and corner stores with fruits and vegetables is a complex endeavor that requires collaboration with community partners. The city’s role in this partnership is to coordinate and focus its economic development, planning, financing, permitting and, if applicable, redevelopment tools and assets to attract and support healthy food retail.

Examples of Local Policies

Multnomah County Healthy Retail Initiative. Multnomah County Health Department.

Resources

Putting Business to Work for Health. ChangeLab Solutions. 2011. Local government incentives can motivate business and real estate stakeholders to make choices that promote access to healthier food and physical activity. The guide explores a variety of local incentives- policies and programs that make it faster for a developer to move through a project, more lucrative to locate in a neighborhood in need, or easier to obtain financing through low-cost loans and grants.

Healthy Food, Healthy Communities: Improving Access and Opportunities Through Food Retailing. PolicyLink. 2005. This report highlights promising strategies to develop grocery stores, improve the selection and quality of food in existing smaller stores, and start and sustain farmers markets. Planning for Healthy Places offers fact sheets on economic development and funding sources for healthy food retail.

Seeding the City: Land Use Policies to Promote Urban Agriculture. ChangeLab Solutions. 2011. This toolkit sets forth a framework and model language for urban agriculture land use policies that communities can tailor to their particular context and needs.

Provide economic incentives for healthy food retail projects

Examples of Local Policies

Multnomah County Healthy Retail Initiative. Multnomah County Health Department.

Resources

Cutting Through the Red Tape: A Resource Guide for Local Food Policy Practitioners and Organizers. Institute for Food and Development Policy. 2012. This document is a collection of tools, informational resources, or successful model policies that support an integrated, sustainable and equitable food system at the city or regional level to create food policy change.

How to Use Economic Development Resources to Improve Access to Healthy Food. ChangeLab Solutions. 2009. Public health officials and advocates can partner with economic development and other city agencies to help bring new food retail into low-income neighborhoods. This fact sheet is designed to provide a basic overview of how economic development programs work, highlighting a variety of ways for advocates to influence the process.

Planning to Eat? Innovative Local Government Plans and Policies to Build Healthy Food Systems in the United States. Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities- Buffalo Partnership. 2011. This policy brief includes a synthesis of recent best practices of local government policy and planning designed to strengthen policy and planning community food systems.

 

Support Community Gardens

These lively neighborhood destinations can provide affordable produce to residents, neighborhood green spaces and places for physical activity. Cities can support and promote community gardens by defining them in their comprehensive plan and zoning code. Strategies include making vacant lots available for community gardens, allowing fruit and vegetable gardens to be planted in front yards, and allowing community gardens in parks and on school property.

Examples of Local Policies

City of Fairview Community Gardens Resolution. 2014.

Resources

Seeding the City: Land Use Policies to Promote Urban Agriculture. ChangeLab Solutions. 2011. This toolkit sets forth a framework and model language for urban agriculture land use policies that communities can tailor to their particular context and needs.

 

Support Farmers Markets

Cities can support local agriculture and bring healthy food to residents by defining farmers markets in the comprehensive plan and zoning code, and encouraging or requiring farmers markets to accept the electronic benefit transfer card (EBT) and WIC coupons. Farmers markets can be part of a revitalization strategy because they draw the public to under-utilized locations (e.g. to the downtown on weekends). Cities may employ joint use agreements to allow farmers markets to be held on school grounds or in parks.

Examples of Local Policies

(Coming soon)