In 2014, LISC NYC, a community development intermediary, partnered with Community Development Corporations (CDCs) to launch the Communities for Healthy Food (CfHF) program.
CfHF improved the food infrastructure in target neighborhoods by ensuring low-income communities and communities of color have access to healthier and more affordable food options, a voice in the food movement, and economic opportunities.
The goal of this toolkit is to help community organizations across the country use healthy food initiatives and food justice principles to better their community development efforts.
It provides information on connecting food programs, spurring economic development, building community knowledge, and creating social connectivity. The toolkit presents a flexible and holistic approach to planning, designing, and implementing a portfolio of programs to ensure low-income communities and communities of color have access to healthier food options, a voice in the food movement, and economic opportunities. The information is based on the experience of Communities for Healthy Food (CfHF). CfHF integrates affordable, healthy food access and social justice into community development strategies in five of New York City’s economically challenged neighborhoods. The primary audience is community-based organizations, but this toolkit will also be useful to funders and non-profit intermediaries interested in supporting communitybased organizations in this work.
With this toolkit, you can put together a comprehensive program that builds on your community’s and organization’s existing assets. This toolkit will help you to:
- Navigate key issues related to healthy food
- Create a community needs assessment that analyzes local health needs and demographics; identifies community assets; gathers input from residents; and develops maps of existing food and nutrition programs and services.
- Plan and implement a portfolio of interventions to change the landscape and the role food can play in enhancing resident lives.
- Develop activities and programs that build on the knowledge and abilities that residents bring to the table.
- Form meaningful partnerships to help build community capacity to deliver services.
- Measure qualitative and quantitative impacts of a comprehensive, integrated, community-driven food program
The initiative integrates access to healthy and affordable food and food justice principles into every aspect of community development work through:
- Outreach, nutrition education, and cooking classes;
- Creating new or improved healthy food outlets;
- Generating food-sector jobs;
- Building leadership skills on food systems; and
- Sharing ideas on growing food and sustainable practices.