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Healthy Food, Safe Food Project Equips Food Access Advocates

By Hannah Jastram Aaberg, Communications Associate

This week, University of Minnesota Extension and Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) released the results of the Healthy Food, Safe Food (HFSF) Project, which explored regulatory barriers to improving access to healthy foods while simultaneously maintaining and enhancing food safety. The just-released results include reports summarizing the project findings, as well as an action guide and toolkit based on those findings for use by food access advocates.

Download your copy of the HFSF Action Guide today.

The Process

Between July 2015 and July 2016, the HFSF team listened to more than 100 Minnesotans who work on the front lines of healthy food access and food safety. They include those who work in food safety areas, such as licensing, inspections, and regulation; hunger relief; nutrition education; farmers markets; child care; and local public health.

“We spent many hours listening to the difficulties people had trying to grow, sell, and serve food that is both healthy and safe,” said Tim Jenkins, project lead and liaison between Extension and MDH. “Everyone we talked to acknowledged that it is difficult to navigate the food regulatory system, that both food safety and access to healthy food are important, and that there are many opportunities to collaborate for a healthy food supply.”

The Product

From this process of broad engagement and research, the team then created the Healthy Food, Safe Food Action Guide. The guide outlines nine proven strategies that people can use to ensure reliable access to safe, affordable, healthy food in many settings — from farmers markets to schools to food shelves. The action guide is a companion resource to the Minnesota Food Charter, a shared roadmap to improved food access that was developed by thousands of Minnesotans in 2014.

“This partnership between Extension and the Minnesota Department of Health made for a much stronger guide than if either of us had worked alone,” said Trina Adler, Extension program leader in health and nutrition. “Staff from both organizations — as well as many others — are wrestling with the difficulty of providing Minnesotans with fresh food that supports their health while trying to understand the requirements of multiple state codes. The action guide and accompanying toolkit are two new resources for food access advocates that we hope they will use again and again.”

The HFSF Project is a partnership between University of Minnesota Extension Center for Family Development' SNAP-Ed program and MDH’s Office of Statewide Health Improvement Initiatives (OSHII). Read the reports, download the action guide, and request a toolkit here:

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