Access to Healthy Food
Healthy Food, Healthy Communities
Many residents, especially children, have limited access to healthy, affordable foods and beverages. This limited access can result in poor health.
Studies show lower income families have difficulty getting to stores selling healthy food, especially fruits and vegetables. This initiative works with community groups* to ensure a healthy food environment in our community. For more information, contact us.
*One of these groups is the Maricopa County Food System Coalition: a community organization focusing on solutions for food waste, sustainable farming practices, food distribution and access, land and water use, and nutrition education.
Healthy Food Retail
Healthy food retail increases the community’s access to affordable, healthy foods. Focusing on small, independently owned neighborhood stores in lower income communities, healthy retail helps:
- Identify the types of healthy food customers want to buy.
- Stores buy and highlight healthy items.
- Store owners with food safety.
- Encourage store owners to purchase healthy food from local farms.
- Provide in-store healthy taste tests and nutrition education.
Farmers markets increase availability of local healthy foods. Food benefits such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP/EBT), WIC and Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) checks can be used at some markets to purchase fresh, locally grown produce. This supports local farmers and the local economy.
Are you a Market Manager?
Technical assistance is available: Please contact us for marketing, promotion and assistance with accepting food benefits such as SNAP and WIC Cash Value Vouchers.
School and Community Gardens
Gardens can transform communities. They provide: access to healthful food, opportunities to learn, space for social interaction, and ways to be physically activity. Growing food is part of Arizona’s rich history with our unique climate and landscape. There are many using creative ways to grow food in schools, public spaces, child care settings, yards and vacant lots.
Gardens are an important component of a healthy, sustainable food system.
Guidance for School, Community, and Food Establishment Gardens (Maricopa County Environmental Services)
Farm to School, Pre-School or Institution
“Farm to Institution” is a term covering any place buying local food, gardening and using what is grown in meals, and/or providing education on agriculture.
Farm to School is most widely known where school districts may purchase food from local farmers, grow their own food on site, and/or teach the children about agriculture and farming practices.
Farm to School empowers children and families to make healthy food choices while strengthening the local economy.