Promote Affordable, Accessible Food
More than 23 million Americans, including 6.5 million children, live in low-income urban and rural neighborhoods that are more than one mile from the nearest supermarket. These communities, where access to affordable, quality, and nutritious foods is limited, are known as “food deserts.” In these communities, grocery stores that sell healthy foods such as fresh fruit and vegetables are inaccessible or healthy foods are too expensive.
Lack of access to proper nutrition is one reason why many people, including children, are not eating the recommended levels of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Food insecurity and hunger among children is even more widespread. Community and faith-based organizations can help ensure that all families have access to healthy, affordable food in their communities.
Ideas to Promote Affordable & Accessible Food
Community and faith-based organizations can play an important role in providing access to affordable and healthy food options. Here are some ideas to get started:
- Host a Farmers’ Market: Host a local farmers’ market at your organization's facility or place of worship and advocate for hosts to accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. USDA resources can help you get a market started.
- Organize a Food Pantry: Partner with your local food bank to host a food pantry at your organization or congregation with healthy options. Visit Feeding America to find the food bank closest to you.
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program: Help families in your congregation or community sign-up SNAP. You can also call the National Hunger Hotline at 1-866-3-HUNGRY for more information.
- Women, Infants and Children: Promote participation in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) through outreach to pregnant women and new mothers.
- Talk to Local Stores: Talk to local convenience and retail stores about carrying fresh and healthy food options, including fruits and vegetables.
- Summer Food Service Program: Host the Summer Food Service Program at your organization or congregation’s facility to ensure children have access to healthy meals when not in school.
- Hold a Healthy Food Drive: Start a local produce exchange table or hold a food drive and encourage donations of healthy food items. Teach community members about preserving local food by organizing canning and preserving sessions at your community center, local school or place of worship.
- Start a CSA Club: Partner with local farmers to start a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) club at your organization or place of worship. Subsidize CSA shares for families with limited resources.