Healthy Food

Cities have powerful planning, economic development, and public relations tools that can be used to attract healthy food to underserved neighborhoods. Cities are putting these tools to use to attract healthy food retail and to support and protect community gardens and farmers’ markets. This is described in the Campaign's factsheet Be a City with Healthy Food Choices.


Healthy Eating Active Living Cities Campaign Resolution has model language to declare your city a HEAL City and establish your policy goals in the area of access to healthy food.


Attract retailers that offer fresh fruits and vegetables and healthy staple items

To attract grocery stores, produce markets, and corner stores with fruits and vegetables is a complex endeavor that requires collaboration with community partners. The city’s role in this partnership is to coordinate and focus its economic development, planning, financing, permitting and, if applicable, redevelopment tools and assets to attract and support healthy food retail.


Photo Courtesy of City of Chino  
Examples of City Policies

Los Angeles uses a coordinated approach among its departments to attract healthy food retail to South LA. City staff developed a brochure to market the program..


PolicyLink’s report Healthy Food, Healthy Communities: Improving Access and Opportunities Through Food Retailing highlights promising strategies to develop grocery stores, improve the selection and quality of food in existing smaller stores, and start and sustain farmers’ markets. ChangeLab Solutions' offers factsheets on economic development and finding sources for healthy food retail.




Support Community Gardens

These lively neighborhood destinations can provide affordable produce to residents, neighborhood green space and places for physical activity. Cities can support and promote community gardens by defining them in their general plan and zoning code.


Photo by
Photo by
Examples of City Policies

Escondido has a process for making vacant land available for community gardens

Sacramento allows fruit and vegetable gardens to be planted in front yards

San Francisco
allows community gardens in parks

Model policies   

ChangeLab Solutions has model land use policies to protect and promote community gardens.




Support Farmers’ Markets

Cities can support local agriculture and bring healthy food to residents by defining farmers’ markets in the general plan and zoning code and encouraging them to accept the electronic benefit transfer card (EBT) and WIC coupons.


Photo By Rhonda Winter
Examples of City Policies

Fresno allows farmers’ markets in a number of zones, and through a joint use agreement, holds them on school grounds.

La Jollaoperates a farmers’ market in a school through a joint use agreement .

San Francisco
allows farmers' markets in parks and schools, and requires them to accept EBT

Model policies

ChangeLab Solutions has model land use policies to protect and promote farmers’ markets.






Healthy Eating Active Living Cities Campaign Contact Us Submit a Policy Huge Media, Inc. Linda Herman 2018