News from the HEAL Subcommittee: Healthy Food Access Planning

Over a year ago, the HEAL sub-committee started a relationship with The Food Trust of Philadelphia based on their interest in collaborating on the healthy retail work outlined in our Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP). That partnership has continued to grow over the past year and we are excited to share with you the next phase of our sub-committee’s work.
A team of local partners from Cuyahoga County Board of Health, Ohio State University Extension, Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods at Case Western Reserve University, St. Clair Superior Development Corporation and Tremont West Development Corporation made a trip to Philadelphia in November to see The Food Trust’s healthy corner store work firsthand and meet program leaders from its areas of expertise. It was an informative trip and help the Cleveland partners and The Food Trust realize how much we can learn from each other.
We have used the time to gain insights about food access challenges within our communities an opportunities for new collaboration. As a result, we have developed ideas for an integrated approach to the issue and begun identifying the specific resources necessary for creating real change around healthy food access.
Proper planning is, of course, essential, and a planning grant from Saint Luke’s Foundation is making it possible. The Foundation concluded that, while working with The Food Trust, the effort must be spearheaded locally and in partnership with an existing initiative. As a result, Morgan Taggart and Erika Trapl, Ph.D. from the HIP-Cuyahoga Healthy Eating and Active Living Subcommittee, and Bill McKinney, Ph.D. from the Food Trust, were chosen as the leaders for this important planning phase.
FARE (Food Access Raises Everyone) is an emerging activity of the HIP-Cuyahoga Healthy Eating and Active Living Sub-committee. It has been developed to help identify this ongoing work in Cuyahoga County and to facilitate emerging partnerships between local partners and The Food Trust. FARE will continue to be a locally led effort. Throughout this planning phase, the FARE team, along with The Food Trust, will conduct research and meet with many stakeholders in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County who are leading efforts in their communities and with organizations to discover the best opportunities for creating better access to healthier food in our local neighborhoods. This work will support efforts across many program areas, such as healthy food retail, nutrition education, local food production and school food services.