Top
DSC_0033
Healthy Food Access

MAPC

Smart Growth & Regional Collaboration

HEALTHY FOOD ACCESS

Affordable healthy food. Working farmland. Thriving food businesses. Sustainable fisheries.

These are all vital to the health of communities and residents, and they’re aspects of a strong food system. Cultivating them on the local level requires thoughtful planning and policy and an understanding of how the food system functions as a whole.

MAPC helps municipalities with all aspects of food system planning, whether that means identifying policies and steps to increase healthy food access, keeping farms farming, growing food business opportunities, or getting local vegetables into schools.

QUESTIONS?

To learn more about healthy food access and food systems planning at MAPC, contact Heidi Stucker at hstucker@mapc.org or 617.933.0739.

Food Systems Planning

Led by the Public Health Department, our food systems planning work integrates land use, economic development, and the environmental perspective to help municipalities with:

  • Supporting community health and food access
  • Getting more vegetables and fruits into schools
  • Preserving agriculture
  • Encouraging urban agriculture
  • Connecting transportation systems to food retail
  • Growing food business opportunities

To learn more about how MAPC can support your community’s food system planning, contact Heidi Stucker at hstucker@mapc.org or 617-933-0739.

Food Systems Planning

Led by the Public Health Department, our food systems planning work integrates land use, economic development, and the environmental perspective to help municipalities with:

  • Supporting community health and food access
  • Getting more vegetables and fruits into schools
  • Preserving agriculture
  • Encouraging urban agriculture
  • Connecting transportation systems to food retail
  • Growing food business opportunities

To learn more about how MAPC can support your community’s food system planning, contact Heidi Stucker at hstucker@mapc.org or 617-933-0739.

Our Work

Mass Food Plan Twitter Pic

Massachusetts Local Food Action Plan

In 2015, MAPC and its partners completed the Massachusetts Local Food Action Plan on behalf of the Massachusetts Food Policy Council. The Plan lays out statewide goals for increasing agricultural and seafood production, food security, workforce training and employment, and protecting natural resources, and serves as the guide for state food policy priorities and action. The Massachusetts Food System Collaborative was established at the completion of the Plan, and coordinates its implementation.

Learn more about the Massachusetts Local Food Action Plan here.

Local Fresh Food Purchasing For Schools

MAPC partners with school districts across Eastern and Central Massachusetts on procuring healthy and regional food for students. Through this, schools are sourcing more local produce and seafood – streamlining students’ health and making them better learners. Learn more about our work here.

Promoting Health Through Urban Agriculture

Cambridge is developing an urban agriculture policy to allow for beekeeping, henkeeping, farming, and related urban agriculture activities in the City. Through these policies they hope to promote equitable availability of healthy food, among other benefits.

MAPC’s Public Health Department partnered with the Cambridge Public Health Department to conduct a health lens analysis (HLA) of its urban agriculture policies. The HLA assesses the potential social, environmental, nutritional, and economic impacts of the proposed policy, and makes recommendations for implementing the policy to maximize benefits and equity.

Everett: Advancing a Healthy and Just Food System

MAPC worked with the City of Everett, Everett Community Growers, and other project partners to conduct a community food assessment and developed an action plan to guide food system policymaking and aligned efforts in Everett. Through a participatory process with city representatives and community and food system stakeholders, the project assessed local food system assets and generated policy and program goals to advance public health, health equity, and racial equity through improving Everett’s food system. The planning process included a PhotoVoice project - community-based participatory research to further articulate the vision for a better food system in Everett. Read more about it on the Planning 101 blog.

Access the Everett Community Food Assessment & Plan here

PhotoVoice Project magazine here.

Food Policy

The Public Health Department and the Government Affairs Division partner to identify and advance state food policy that align with MAPC priorities and Public Health objectives. (Read more about MAPC's Legislative Priorities here.) In recent years we have advocated for passage of legislation, including:

Closing the SNAP Gap: An Act Improving Public Health Through a Common Application for Core Food, Health and Safety Net Programs

This legislation addresses the fact that an estimated 680,000 people who are receiving MassHealth are likely also eligible for the SNAP program, but not enrolled. Delivering benefits to eligible individuals supports them in meeting their basic needs; lowers healthcare costs; and generates an estimated $1.5 billion in economic stimulus.

Breakfast After the Bell: An Act Regarding Breakfast in the Classroom

Breakfast After the Bell aims to address these barriers and increase participation by requiring that high poverty schools serve breakfast at the beginning of the instructional day, after the bell. Serving breakfast once class has started ensures all students are able to eat – especially important for the majority of the State’s most vulnerable students who are not currently eating school breakfast.

Healthy Incentives Program: An Act Establishing the Healthy Incentives Program

Healthy Incentives Program (HIP) applies a one-dollar incentive on every Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit dollar spent on vegetables and fruits when purchased at eligible SNAP retailers. This bill would permanently establish an incentives program that would ensure sustainability of HIP, and establish an incentives fund.

Resources

(TO GET YOU STARTED)

This resource presents over 50 things cities and towns can do to improve food access and build strong food systems. The toolkit includes descriptions of each strategy, relevant case studies, example model bylaws, and links to additional resources. The toolkit is a springboard for action for municipal staff and board members, Mass in Motion coordinators, and community advocates. Check it out here.

Produced by Pioneer Valley Planning Commission and MAPC, 2016

A toolkit for municipal officials working with agricultural producers, residents, and other stakeholders to identify food systems priorities in terms of economic development, health, conservation, equity, and education. It is intended to guide communities through the food planning process, and includes several additional tools and resources. Check it out here.

Produced by CLF Ventures and MAPC, 2013

This guide provides advice for making shared use of kitchens a success in your community in Massachusetts. It provides an overview of the legal issues to consider when starting or using a community kitchen and is meant to serve a starting point for your planning process. The information is targeted to organizations that host community kitchens and the community groups and entrepreneurs that use them, as well as allies and partners seeking to facilitate connecting potential users and kitchen managers. Check it out here.

Produced by Conservation Law Foundation’s Legal Food Hub in partnership with MAPC, 2018

MAPC | Public Health Team

public health

MAPC’s Public Health Committee meets regularly to discuss current and emerging health priorities at MAPC.