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Community Food Assessment: A Piece by Piece Approach

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Community Food Assessment: A Piece by Piece Approach

  1. 1. Community Food Assessment A Piece-by-Piece Approach Liz Sheehan Castro Worcester Food & Active Living Policy Council
  2. 2. Who We Are Engaging diverse partners to foster a healthy and just food system and active community environment.  Educate  Advocate  Collaborate Celebrate 
  3. 3. Our History & Work 2006 2007-11 2011 2012 Worcester Advisory Food Policy Council Formed. Worked to increase Summer Feeding sites. Received 5-year grant from Health Foundation of Central MA for Hunger-Free & Healthy. Changed name to include “active living”. Hunger-Free & Healthy ends; Policy Council develops new goals. Coalition is broader, stronger, and moving forward on new initiatives.
  4. 4. Hunger-Free & Healthy Project 1. Improving school meals in Worcester Public Schools; 2. Increasing the SNAP participation rate; 3. Establishing farmers’ markets in low-income areas of the city; 4. Increasing the number of school gardens in WPS; 5. Offering free nutrition-based cooking classes to low-income families and teens; 6. Increasing communication and collaboration among organizations, individuals and institutions involved in this work; 7. Advocating for policies and systems change that supports this work; 8. Securing on-going funding and support for project components.
  5. 5. Current Focus • Urban Agriculture • Walking & Biking • Hunger/SNAP • Grocery Access • School Garden Curriculum • Farm Bill • Policymaker Education • Public Education • Communications • Coalition & Network Building • Research What How
  6. 6. Community Food Assessment Our Methods: Piece-by-Piece 1. Community Assessments 2. Project Evaluations: Outcome & Process 3. Local Resources: Universities & Colleges
  7. 7. Findings 1. Mass in Motion Community Assessment of Existing Policies POLICY NEEDS • Healthy options in restaurant/retail venues – policies and programs • Community gardens – policies and protection • Access to supermarkets/large food outlets by public transit – supportive policies • Access to locally grown food – no policies
  8. 8. Findings 2. Hunger-Free & Healthy Project Evaluations
  9. 9. Findings Farmers’ Market EBT/WIC/Senior Coupon Sales
  10. 10. Findings 3. Local Universities & Colleges Projects Include: • Food Availability Assessment (WPI) • Farmers’ Market Analysis (WPI) • Green Roofs Potential Analysis (WPI) • Chronic Disease & Food Availability Assessment (UMass Med.) • Urban Agriculture Potential (WPI) • School FoodScape Analysis (WPI) • Food Hub Business Model Potential (Clark)
  11. 11. Benefits & Challenges Benefits • Cost Neutral • Allows for work & assessment simultaneously • Builds Relationships Challenges • Time • Haphazard • Dependent on students/projects
  12. 12. Outcomes • Farmers’ Market Permit • WooFood Restaurant Certification Program • Increased funding for Farmers’ Markets in low- income areas, including a mobile market • Increased funding of SNAP Outreach work • Increase in state budget for SNAP Admin • School Nutrition Legislation (state) • Farming on city-owned land (pilot) • 20 School Gardens (up from 3) • School Garden Curriculum (planning phase)
  13. 13. Up Next • Share Data & Findings with Local/State Officials • Urban Ag: Zoning, Permitting, Expand pilot on city-owned land • Grocery Access: Work on healthy food marketing with local retail

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