From San Francisco to Seattle and Chicago, pop-up grocery stores are providing healthy options to low-income consumers in food deserts. Studies show that they can be successful in changing eating habits if quality is proritized and health education is provided.
In May 2012 the USDA launched a new, interactive Spanish toolkit, La Mesa Completa. The toolkit aims to help community leaders and faith-based communities become knowledgeable on the many ways they can work with USDA to ensure Latinos have access to nutrition programs; it includes links, best practices, and video testimonies. A recording of the webinar that launched the toolkit is available in Spanish.
New research published in the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found a positive influence on the revised Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children and food packages on access to healthy foods. The revised program included cash-value vouchers for fruits and vegetables, new whole-grain products, lower fat content in dairy foods, and reduced juice quantities.
In this video a group of students from the Rhode Island School of Design and Brown University address how to encourage healthier food choices in food deserts using a human-centered design. They discover that the availability of healthy food does not necessarily cause a shift in eating habits; education about how to prepare healthy, inexpensive meals is key, and making it fun is particularly important when trying to engage and educate youth.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released a brief “Making the Connection: Linking Policies that Prevent Hunger and Childhood Obesity” that outlines the relationship between food insecurity and obesity. Policies discussed in the brief include establishing healthy food financing initiatives to increase access to nutritious foods, supporting farm to institution and farm to school programs, and increasing free and reduced-price school meals.
A USDA study of eight regional food hubs/distribution networks that describes how these networks tap into the growing commercial demand for local and regional food products while creating additional economic opportunities and expanding healthy food access.
More than a third of Baltimore neighborhoods do not have easy access to healthy and affordable foods. In response to this latest data from John Hopkins University, city officials and other groups are launching programs to provide healthy food for residents, including highlighting healthy foods at farmer’s markets, creating delivery services and encouraging more grocery store development.
Food for Thought, a resource from SesameStreet.org, is a bilingual multimedia program designed to help families who have children ages 2 to 8 and lack access to affordable and healthy food. Learn strategies for coping with food insecurity and get tips for teaching children healthy eating habits.
PolicyLink introduces four tools addressing Access to Healthy Food in their Equitable Development Toolkit: Grocery Store Development, Corner Stores, Farmers’ Markets, and Urban Agriculture and Community Gardens. These tools address efforts focused on serving low-income communities and communities of color to increase access to healthy, fresh, affordable food.
It is recognized that obesity is influenced by both what you eat and where you live as individual choices of diet are often limited or swayed by what is available in a food environment. Thus there is an ongoing effort to reduce obesity by improving food access where people live. Michigan is gaining recognition for its anti-obesity strategy by improving food access.
Fair Food Network is a non-profit, based in Ann Arbor Michigan, that is focused on building a more sustianable and just food system. Their resource page includes food access related links to reports, case studies, and policy and advocacy tools.
PolicyLink provides resources such as webinars, case-studies, and toolkits on food access issues, including those specifically in communities of color, and includes resources that focus on the links between obesity and the environment, and healthy food retail models.
PHLP’s document library covers a range of topics related to food access; including healthy planning, farmers markets, healthy retail, childhood obesity, economic development, joint use agreements, mobile vending and produce carts, legislation, menu labeling and redevelopment.
Melinda Hemmelgarn, a nutrition and health communications consultant, hosts a 30 minute weekly podcast covering topics ranging from food access, nutrition and diet related diseases, food policy, to agriculture and farming issues.
The TEFAP Alliance is a coalition of local, state and national organizations involved with The Emergency Assistance Food Program based in Sacramento, California. Their Foodlinks Newsletter covers a wide variety of food policy and food access news, upcoming legislation, and news from the city, state and national hunger community.
Let’s Move is an initiative of the Office of the First Lady, Michelle Obama, designed to solve the issue of childhood obesity within a generation and involves parents and families in order to get kids more active and eating healthier foods. The website includes resources for parents, community leaders, schools and health care professionals to begin to address the nations childhood obesity epidemic.
The FRAC data and publication page provides food hardship data by Congressional district and national, state and county-by-county SNAP participation data from across the US, and also has several reports on US poverty with data provided by the US Census Bureau. Their Legislative Action Center provides resources and advocacy tools to fight hunger, tools to promote anti-hunger policies in the 2012 Farm Bill, and an overview and updates on budget issues affecting anti-hunger legislation.
Feeding America’s website features resources for food banks, provides contact information for their network of US food banks, advocacy tools, policy resources, resource guides on childhood food insecurity, emergency food assistance, and general studies on hunger in America.
The C.S. Mott Group for Sustainable Agriculture at Michigan State University provides research, conference proceedings and presentations on community food systems, farming and production techniques, business plans and resources on food processing and distribution.
School Food Focus is a national collaborative that uses the power of large school districts to increase the quality of school meals and make them more sustainably produced and regionally sourced.