To qualify for the Healthy Utah Community designation, cities and towns must implement strategies to improve access to healthy food. Below is a list of recommended strategies with resources for each.
Recommended Healthy Food Strategies
Conduct a messaging campaign to promote healthy eating in your community
Encourage community members to improve their diet and eat more nutritiously by creating a community-wide messaging campaign about healthy eating.
- CDC Healthy Eating Communications Kit
- Toolkit for Health Professionals
- Canva Healthy Eating Templates
Establish a farmers market that accepts SNAP benefits
Farmer's markets are a great way to make fresh fruits and vegetables available to community members. By accepting SNAP benefits, all community members can have equal access regardless of income level.
- Utahns Against Hunger: Using SNAP at Farmers Markets
- Utah Farmers Market SNAP Toolkit
- Utah Farmers Market Network: SNAP and Double-Up Food Bucks
Establish a community garden
A community garden is a space cared for by community members and typically used for home consumption. Community gardens not only increase access to healthy foods but also increase physical activity and improve social connections.
- Wasatch Community Gardens: Salt Lake County
- American Community Gardening Association: Starting a Community Garden
- Financial Considerations when Starting a Community Garden
Create an edible park/food forest
Ensuring that city/town-owned/managed facilities have healthy food and beverage options available shows that the health of residents is a priority. A healthy food environment makes it easier for individuals to choose healthy options and increases awareness and availability of healthy food in the community.
Host a community program to promote healthy eating
A wide variety of community programs are available to help residents access and eat more healthy foods. Examples include hosting a community seed exchange, gardening classes, cooking classes, etc.
Improve healthy eating among youth by promoting a healthy eating resource, program, or best practice in schools
Improve healthy eating among children and youth by introducing a physical activity resource, program, or best practice into local schools.
- CDC: Strategies for Healthier Eating at School
- Utah Harvest of the Season School Program
- UT Farm to Fork: School Garden Resources
Improve access to emergency food by establishing a food pantry/program or improving an existing one
Ensure that families who are food insecure have local emergency resources, such as food pantries.
- Find a Food Pantry: Utah Food Bank
- Utahns Against Hunger: Emergency Food and Other Resources
- United Way 211: Food
Update ordinances, zoning, and land use policies to allow for better opportunities for urban agriculture
Allow community residents to grow their own food without restrictions by updating ordinances, zoning, and land use policies.
- Zoning for Urban Agriculture: A Guide for Updating Your City's Laws to Support Healthy Food Production and Access
- Urban Agriculture: A Guide for Municipalities
- Utah Urban Farming Assessment Act 59-2-1701
Adopt ordinances that allow backyard poultry/animal husbandry
Ensure that families who are food insecure have access to emergency resources, such as food pantries.
- American Planning Association: Urban Livestock
- Suggestions for Ordinances Allowing Backyard Poultry
- Developing Regulations for Keeping Urban Chickens
Provide financial incentives for a grocery store to locate in an underserved area
Having access to grocery stores is critical for community members to plan and cook healthy meals.
Improve the food retailer landscape
Improving the balance between healthy and unhealthy food retailers can make eating nutritiously more convenient and feasible for families. Steps can include expediting permitting for new stores that offer healthy food, limiting the density of unhealthy food retailers, etc.
Encourage menu labeling with nutrition facts
Ensure that community members have the tools needed to make informed decisions about what they eat by encouraging local restaurants and other retailers to label menus with nutrition facts, such as calories per item.
Promote enrollment in SNAP, WIC, school meal program, and other food access programs
Many federal programs are available to assist with food insecurity and poor access to nutrition. Take steps locally to reduce barriers and promote enrollment in these programs.
- Utahns Against Hunger: SNAP Outreach Program
- USDA: Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program
- USU Extension: Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Programs
- WIC: Utah.gov
- Utahns Against Hunger: WIC
- Utahns Against Hunger: School Meals
Conduct a Community Food Assessment or healthy food access audit
Conduct a Community Food Assessment or healthy food access audit to better understand the food needs of your community members and inform future efforts and policies.
Create a Food Policy Council or Task Force tasked with identifying recommendations for your community to follow.
Starting a Food Policy Council or Task Force can be an effective way to organize and sustain efforts to improve the food system in your community, as well as address food insecurity and poor nutrition.
Adopt a city plan to improve access to healthy food in your community such as revising the general plan, creating a Community Food System Plan, etc.
Map out how your community will improve access to healthy food now and in the future by developing a Community Food System Plan or revising your general plan to address food access.
- Community Food Systems Planning
- American Planning Association: Food Planning
- What is Food Systems Planning?
- Facilitator's Guidebook: Community-Based Food System Assessment and Planning
Implement one new worksite wellness strategy around healthy food among city employees and/or local businesses
Ensure city and town employees have access to healthy food during the workday by implementing a relevant worksite wellness policy.
- CDC Workplace Nutrition Policies
- Utah Department of Health and Human Services: Worksite Wellness Resources
Partner with a local organization to implement a program listed on the Healthy Eating Menu of Services
In addition to the above strategies, you may also choose to implement a program listed in the Physical activity Menu of Services. Each program you implement will be counted as a strategy towards the designation.
Is your community doing other things that you think may qualify you for the Healthy Utah Community designation?
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