Our goal within this priority area is that everyone in North Carolina has access to healthy food.
While there are many contributors to a person’s health, key among them is consistent access to nutritious food – which has significant bearing on physical, mental, and cognitive health outcomes. This consistent access is a challenge for many in North Carolina where more than 1.2 million people (1 in 8) are food insecure. This challenge is magnified for many populations and communities that are disproportionately impacted, including American Indian, Black, and Latino residents, those living in rural parts of our state, as well as recent immigrants from various countries.
There are many contributing factors, including a number of policy and systemic barriers to healthy, accessible food. We need to improve upon these policies, practices, and norms that if changed will help ensure that everyone has an opportunity to consistently access healthy food in their community,
Our approach to increasing access to healthy food is focused on growing the diversity of, and connections within, the network of organizations working toward a food system that benefits those who produce, process, and consume healthy food. Specifically, this includes:
- Supporting a network of organizations to identify and achieve policy and systems change at local and state levels that will result in increased access to healthy food.
- Supporting the development and spread of models to increase access to healthy food and transform the local food system in communities most impacted by food insecurity.
- Increasing access to no cost and healthy school meals.
Examples of our Work in this Area Include
- A recent grant of more than $1.5M is expanding our investment in the NC Food Hub Collaborative, which supports local food hubs that connect small farms to markets to increase access to healthy, local food through a combination of aggregation, processing, distribution, and marketing services.
- The work of 10 healthy food prescription programs is being supported, and learned from, as part of a two-year, $3.5 million effort to strengthen and spread partnerships between health care and community-based organizations.
- A $595,000 investment in Working Landscapes is supporting the development of a farm-to-food hub-to-school procurement model in North Carolina’s northeast region to support the increase of locally sourced healthy food in school meals.