Consuming fruits and vegetables, and growing and cooking your own food, are associated with positive growth and development, weight management and a decreased risk for chronic disease. However, many children and families lack equal access to fresh, affordable produce and other healthful foods. In San Diego County, a significant majority of low-income residents, including children, indicate that there are days of the week when they do not eat a single fresh fruit or vegetable.
Food access is not simply an obesity issue, but also a community development and equity issue. Community-based food production is an important strategy for addressing food access issues, and also serves as an important source of healthy and culturally appropriate food for children and families.
Some cities in San Diego County have adopted healthy food systems policies to support community-based food production, and community demand for more policies to make it easier to produce local food is growing.
To address how urban planning can improve local agriculture, Healthy Works is working in partnership with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to lead the Community Agriculture Planning Project (CAPP) in San Diego County. CAPP represents a first-of-its-kind partnership in San Diego between public health, city planners and communities to come together to improve healthy food systems. The purpose of CAPP is to highlight strategies and model best-practices from communities around the world to increase healthy community-based food production and healthy food access to prevent obesity and develop sustainable food systems.
CAPP seeks to increase access to healthy food environments in multiple partner cities across San Diego County through the development of local plans and policies supportive of community agricultural projects. CAPP is being implemented in three phases:
1) training, relationship-building and visioning
2) analysis, community engagement, developing initiatives
3) implementation and evaluation
With guidance from the IRC and assistance from HHSA staff, the cities, community-based organizations, and residents are working together to improve access to healthy food in San Diego County.
Community Agriculture Resources
Local governments and jurisdictions can help combat high rates of chronic disease — especially in communities most at risk — by adopting and strengthening policies to increase access to healthy food. These resources discuss different policy options for improving healthy food access across San Diego County, especially in underserved neighborhoods.