Healthy Eating

Food Security

| February 15, 2017

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines food security as “access by all people at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life.” Food in security is associated with numerous chronic health problems and mental health issues in adults. Poverty and unemployment are predictors of food insecurity. In 2013, Lane County’s food insecurity rate of 16.5% was higher than Oregon’s 15.8%. During the 2014-2015 school year, more than half of children (52.2%) in Lane County were eligible for free or reduced price school lunches.

Community food security is a condition in which all community residents obtain a safe, culturally acceptable, nutritionally adequate diet through a sustainable food system that maximizes community self-reliance and social justice.  –Mike Hamm and Anne Bellows

Strategies for Community Food Security

Community food security strategies tend to focus less on emergency food access and more on availability of affordable and healthy food that will meet long-term needs. Here are some examples of local government strategies for community food security:

  • Adopt a healthy food resolution
  • Establish a Food Policy Council
  • Incorporate access to healthy food into comprehensive plans
  • Develop land-use planning policies to support access to healthy food
  • Establish zoning regulations to eliminate barriers and encourage healthy food access
  • Create policies to ensure small-scale agriculture efforts have access to clean water
  • Establish land-use agreements to support public and private land for community gardens
  • Utilize licensing to increase access to healthy food and limit access to unhealthy food
  • Include nutrition standards, local purchasing requirements, pricing, marketing and other point-of-sale standards in RFPs and contracts
  • Establish policies supporting food skills development and healthy food environments in schools, including the limiting of marketing of unhealthy food in or near schools
  • Tailor economic incentives to support local farmers and food businesses
  • Establish a healthy food financing initiative
  • Incentivize SNAP benefits spent at the farmers market

See also: Increasing Access to Healthy Food, Public Health Law Center 

Sources:

Category: Community Groups/Coalitions, Health Providers, Obesity

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