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ACCESS TO HEALTHY FOOD
A community's health is largely influenced by social factors such as education, economic opportunity, conditions of neighborhoods as well as access to healthy food, safe spaces to recreate, reliable transportation and quality housing. This month, we focus on access to healthy food, food insecurity, and a few examples of what's happening in Arizona to address these issues.
Area-based measures of access show that in the United States, 23.5 million people live in low-income areas that are more than 1 mile from a supermarket or large grocery store. Many individuals within these areas also do not have access to a vehicle.
Increasing access to healthy food is important for the many thousands of Arizonans who experience food insecurity, or the lack of access to nutritious food. Food insecurity affects 15.8 percent of Arizonans, and 24 percent of Arizona children. This makes Arizona the state with the fifth-highest national food insecurity rate for children.
Double up Food Bucks:
A Win for Arizona Families, Farmers and Communities
Local nonprofit Pinnacle Prevention is working with partners and growers across the state to bring Double Up Food Bucks Arizona to markets and families in every community. Double Up Food Bucks Arizona is part of a national, federally-funded effort that doubles the value of SNAP (formally known as food stamps) benefits used at farmers markets across the state, helping people bring home more healthy fruits and vegetables while supporting local farmers. When someone uses their SNAP Quest Card at participating farmers markets, every dollar they spend is matched with an extra dollar to spend on Arizona-grown fruits and vegetables, up to $20 per day.
The Double Up Food Bucks program is currently available at 15 farmers markets, three farm stands and 40 Fresh Express Mobile Market sites across the state. In May, two farmers markets in Flagstaff and Payson joined the growing list of Double Up partner sites. In the same month, Pinnacle Prevention and their partners helped launch a new farmers market in Maryvale at El Oso Park. The market runs every Saturday, and accepts SNAP benefits and Double Up Food Bucks to help increase access to healthy food for everyone in the community.
FOOD POLICY COUNCILS
A Food Policy Council or Coalition (FPC) consists of a group of representatives and stakeholders from many sectors of the food system. They often include anti-hunger and food justice advocates, health professionals, educators, nonprofit organizations, concerned citizens, government officials, farmers, grocers, chefs, workers, food processors and food distributors. FPC's create an opportunity for discussion and strategy development among these various interests, and create an arena for studying the food system as a whole.
Recognizing the importance of collaborations in changing policies and systems, Vitalyst Health Foundation funded Pinnacle Prevention to document Arizona’s current food policy council environment. Vitalyst and Pinnacle hoped this effort would help to identify ways to support more local efforts. This report explores the status of FPCs or similar organizations in Arizona and the potential of developing a statewide network of these groups. Based on conversations with leaders in Arizona food systems, six groups were identified as possible FPCs or organizations with similar goals. Other food system organizations were identified through the interviews, but not interviewed for the purposes of this report. These include the Dine Policy Institute working on Food Sovereignty in Navajo Nation and Cornucopia Community Advocates working to address hunger in Yavapai County. Read the report here and then find a way to engage with your local FPC.
Shared use Summit 2.0
Building on the success of the first ever Shared Use Summit in 2016, which presented a unique funding opportunity, this year's event will feature an exciting look at the progress and experiences of the six grantees participating in the 2016-2017 Maricopa County Shared Use Initiative. Take a deeper dive into their successes and challenges as they have paved the way for innovative shared use projects that have addressed not only access to recreational spaces but also access to healthy, local food for our communities.
The Shared Use Summit 2.0 is a free event that will take place in Phoenix on June 28th 9am - 3pm. The summit will be an opportunity to explore the latest developments in the shared use movement across Maricopa County and the state.
The summit offers a unique, once-a-year opportunity to:
- Learn how the community use of school district owned recreation and gathering spaces such as playgrounds, gyms, gardens and classrooms can improve the health and well-being of communities
- Stay on the cutting edge of the shared use movement and hear updates on the latest research findings, policy innovations and in-the-community shared use initiatives currently taking place across Arizona
- Network with experts, change-makers and others involved in creating healthier, more engaged, vibrant communities
- Collaborate and learn from others to tackle the tough issues and identify new opportunities through interactive breakout sessions
- Get ready to make underutilized spaces the gem of your community!
Build Healthy Places Network: Advancing Health Equity
Efforts in a Changing Policy Environment
Monday, June 19th; 10-11am Arizona time
Join Build Healthy Places Network for a a live online discussion series on cross-sector strategies to improve neighborhood health and well-being. At this discussion, three leading experts with federal-level experience will share strategies and points of leverage for organizations and individuals who seek to continue their efforts to promote health equity.
The following funding opportunities are both available from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Research in Transforming Health & Health Care Systems
Purpose: The Foundation’s new Research in Transforming Health and Health Care Systems (RTHS) call for proposals (CFP) seeks to fund rigorous, empirical studies that evaluate or predict the potential effects of policies or policy changes intended to transform health and health care systems.
Deadline: Friday, June 23, 2017
Evidence for Action: Investigator-Initiated Research to Build a Culture of Health
Purpose: Evidence for Action (E4A), a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, funds research that expands the evidence base needed to build a Culture of Health. Their mission is to support rigorously designed quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research that yields convincing findings regarding the population health, well-being, and equity impacts of specific policies, programs and partnerships. They are especially interested in research examining the health impacts of programmatic or policy interventions that address factors outside the domain of health care services or public health practice.