Primary Resources

Consultation and Resource Development Lab

Are you part of a government, nonprofit, or community-based organization that could benefit from support navigating, evaluating, enhancing, or advancing laws and other public policies at the state and/or local levels related to healthy food access? If so, the Healthy Food Policy Project (HFPP) at the Vermont Law and Graduate School’s Center for Agriculture and Food Systems (CAFS) invites you to apply for an opportunity to receive remote consulting services. Apply Here.

Policy Database Healthy Food Policy Project

A curated, searchable database of local healthy food policies around the United States, analyzed by HFPP. The project team will continue to add policies to the database over the course of the collaboration. Suggest a policy.

Policy Drafting Companion Guide:
Turning your Community Vision into Local Healthy Food Law or Policy

This resource provides an introduction to common elements of laws and policies, shares examples of how these elements can be used to support local healthy food access, and offers recommended practices in the drafting process for those who may be exploring or entering the world of local policymaking, or for those who want to advocate for healthy food access policies.

Food Systems Framework

A resource showing how local laws can promote access to healthy food across the food system.

Growing Food Where You Live

This resource focuses on opportunities for—and challenges to—growing food for people who rent their home, lease the land they live on, or live in common interest communities.

Local Planning and the Food System: Tools for Increasing Access to Healthy Food

This resource discusses how community planners can use existing and innovative tools to support and build local and regional food systems with a goal of increasing access to healthy food, and presents some ideas about gaps and opportunities for improvement.

Case Studies Healthy Food Policy Project

In-depth case studies that showcase healthy food policy initiatives, and the people and communities that developed them.

Webinars Healthy Food Policy Project

A listing of all upcoming and archived Healthy Food Policy Project webinar content.

Towards Equitable and Just Food Systems: Exploring Food Justice, Food Sovereignty, and Ending Food Apartheid Policy & Practice

This resource explores the evolving language of food systems and policy work centered on addressing structural racism and inequity. It describes equity-focused terms and frameworks related to the food system, outlines how these terms and frameworks are used in food policy, and provides examples of what they mean in practice.

Resources for Drafting Definitions and Healthy Food Ordinances

Drafting Definitions Healthy Food Policy Project

A guide that describes what types of terms should be defined, and the commonly used ways to define them at the local level.

Resources for Urban Agriculture Ordinances

This list shares reports, guides, toolkits, and websites for drafting policies related to urban agriculture.

Resources for Other Healthy Food Policies

This list shares reports, guides, toolkits, and websites for drafting healthy food policies.

Food Access Policy Change Through Authentic Resident Engagement

A guide that describes the term “authentic resident engagement” and when to use it; including the working principles and tools to use throughout the policy development process.

SNAPSHOT: Authentic Resident Engagement in Action (Hartford, CT)

Interview with a community action task force advisory coordinator.

Municipal COVID-19 Food Access Policies

COVID-19 has disrupted many lives across the world, and has increased the need for food access support. Our team created a new resource that shares local government policies that accelerate, prioritize or facilitate food access during the COVID-19 pandemic and other emergency periods.

Municipal Policies to Support Food Access During Emergencies: Emerging Themes from the Healthy Food Policy Project’s COVID-19 Food Access Municipal Policy Index

This resource is a companion to our COVID-19 Food Access Municipal Policy Index and summarizes some of the types of laws we found through our research.

Partner Resources

COVID-19 Responses: Food Policy Councils are “Stepping In, Stepping Up, and Stepping Back” (JAFSCD)

During the COVID-19 pandemic, food policy councils (FPCs) have emerged as a critical structure for organizing community-based responses to multiple food system issues. Using the early results of a Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future survey of FPCs (2020), this commentary discusses accomplishments and contributions that 118 FPCs have made toward addressing hunger and supporting producers, school food, food chain workers, racial equity, and resilience in the U.S. and in Tribal nations.

COVID-19 Food-Related Policy Tracking Center for Health Law and Policy Innovation at Harvard Law School

This spreadsheet is a collection of the policies enacted at the state level to policies that provide home-delivery of food to marginalized populations in response to COVID, policies that provide onsite meals or pick-up sites for emergency food for marginalized populations in response to COVID and policies that provide additional funding for the provision of meals or emergency food in response to COVID.

Growing Food Connections University at Buffalo, The State University of New York

Growing Food Connections (GFC) aims to identify innovations in local and regional public policy that strengthen community food systems in order to better support underserved residents and farmers, especially small and mid-sized farmers.

Rural Grocery Initiative Kansas State University

The Rural Grocery Initiative seeks to create new models for rural business development and sustainability. Resources include a Rural Grocery Toolkit, research to support the economic viability of rural grocery stores, and technical assistance for retail outlets and other organizations to improve food access in high-need areas in Kansas.

Blueprint for a National Food Strategy Vermont Law School’s Center for Agriculture and Food Systems (CAFS)/The Food Law and Policy Clinic at Harvard Law School

Through legal and original research, the Blueprint Project considers the need for a national food strategy, how other countries have developed national food strategies in response to similar food systems challenges faced by the United States, and the process by which the United States has developed national strategies in response to other issues.

Community Garden Guide Public Health Law Center

Community gardening can have a tremendous positive impact on food access, community vitality, local economies, and environmental conditions in local communities. This guide provides a road map for how local laws and policies can impact local gardening efforts.

Food Swamps Predict Obesity Rates Better Than Food Deserts in the United States Kristen Cooksey-Stowers and Marlene B. Schwartz, UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity; Kelly D. Brownell, Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University

Food swamps have been described as areas with a high-density of establishments selling high-calorie fast food and junk food, relative to healthier food options. This study examines multiple ways of categorizing food environments as food swamps and food deserts, including alternate versions of the Retail Food Environment Index.

Legislation Database UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity

A legislative database of state and federal policies related to obesity and diet-related diseases. Issue areas include access to healthy food, breastfeeding, farms and gardens, school nutrition and physical activity, food assistance programs, marketing/advertising to children, menu and package labeling, and food and beverage taxes.

Good Laws, Good Food: Putting Local Food Policy to Work for Our Communities Toolkit The Food Law and Policy Clinic at Harvard Law School/Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future

This toolkit helps local food advocates and nonprofit organizations understand basic legal concepts surrounding local food systems, develop a base of knowledge about the main policy areas, and be inspired by innovative policy solutions from other cities and states.

Farmland Access Legal Toolkit

This toolkit includes farm case studies to illustrate innovative models of farmland access, farm transfer, and the strategic use of conservation tools to enhance the affordability of farm access and transfer, and to keep farmland in farming.

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