Healthy Food For All
The LiveWell Healthy Food For All Work Group supports policy and system changes to enhance access to healthy foods in Douglas County. The work group welcomes participation from a diverse group of individuals and organizations interested in and affected by food insecurity in Douglas County.
We all know that having a nutritious diet promotes health and prevents disease. Evidence suggests, however, that very few Douglas County residents are able to eat an optimal diet. Fewer than 1 in 5 residents, regularly consume the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables. The reason? For many, the answer is affordability and availability. We’re working to change that through collaboration with local food pantries, grocery stores, restaurants, schools, local food growers and businesses. We want to develop systems that make fresh, healthy food more accessible to families.
Our goal is toensure residents of Douglas County have quality and consistent access to healthy foods. We support local efforts to increase and advocate for improved SNAP benefits, ensure adequate transportation to food access points, grow Hunger and Health initiatives to enhance integration of social services and health care, increase fruit and vegetable consumption for all residents of Douglas County, and support local growers through community gardens, farmers markets, and education about growing your own food.
To achieve our goals we are working together to:
- Reduce the overall household food insecurity rate in Douglas County,
- Remove barriers to and strengthening public food assistance programs,
- Increasing the number of Douglas County children who have access to fruits and vegetables throughout the day,
- Advocating for improved public transportation to ensure residents without access to personal vehicles have access to health food, and
- Support increasing equity in the Common Ground program and land.
Strategy and Opportunities
Strategy: Enhance access to healthy food for low-income families.
Opportunities for Community Action
Establish waste minimizing practices and policies with supermarkets, restaurants, cafeterias, schools, hospitals and any other large feeding institutions, restaurants and stores by supplying excess to food banks serving Douglas County (for low-income families)
Promote and advocate for changes in local food bank and pantry policies and practices that improve the nutrition and health status of communities, including:
- Implementing choice-based systems
- Providing incentives for selecting healthy whole local foods
- Providing evidence-based case management
- Increasing capacity for storing and distributing healthy whole foods
- Establishing new locations
- Improving transit access to existing locations
- Establish a system that engages low-income families as food growers
- Establish a system that engages low-income families as small food business operators
- Establish new opportunities to purchase fresh produce in North Lawrence and other parts of Douglas County with limited options, including farmer’s markets, integration into existing retail options, or opening corner stores
- Promote and advocate for increased enrollment in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) through efforts including dollar for dollar matching programs, community-wide campaigns that destigmatize food assistance and improve understanding of the benefits of SNAP participation
Strategy and Opportunities for Community Action are identified in the Douglas County Community Health Plan.
Recent Workgroup Accomplishments
Healthy Food for All is working with multiple community partners, including area food banks and food pantries, to ensure the availability of fresh, healthy foods to those needing emergency food assistance.
LiveWell Annual Celebration Breakfast Awards
As part of its annual celebration, on Friday, November 19, the LiveWell Douglas County coalition awarded Culture of Health Action Awards to both coalition members and community partners whose efforts have helped improve the health and well-being of Douglas County residents.
Mary-Jane Hoffer of the Lecompton Church was honored for her efforts to ensure emergency food assistance is available to residents of Lecompton.
- Just Food
- City of Lawrence’s Common Ground Community Garden Program
- Douglas County Food Policy Council
For more information about joining, go to Get Involved.
Work Group Leadership
- Co-Chairs: Enrique Ortiz, K-State Research and Extension, and Charles Shively, Just Food