PROJECTExpanding Access to Healthy Food: Innovations and Insights from 11 Community-Led Projects

Eating nutritious food is crucial to maintaining a healthy life. But in communities across the US, systemic factors have prevented people from being able to access the affordable, healthy food they need for themselves and their families. To tackle those barriers, organizations, residents, policymakers, and other stakeholders are working to expand access to healthy food in their communities.

We assessed lessons from 11 community-led projects funded by the Walmart Foundation that are testing innovative approaches to supporting healthy food access. Their strategies varied from improving choice and autonomy at a food bank, to centering tribal food sovereignty and Native foods, to disrupting specific barriers to healthy foods in immigrant and Black communities. The projects also launched new initiatives just as the COVID-19 pandemic started in 2020, which both elevated the need for food assistance and created new challenges for accessing healthy and affordable food.

These projects show how changes in policy and practice can improve access to healthy food for all, and they suggest ways other communities can make their food systems more responsive and inclusive. 

Content References

This project was funded by the Walmart Foundation. We are grateful to them and to all our funders, who make it possible for Urban to advance its mission. The views expressed are those of the authors and should not be attributed to the Urban Institute, its trustees, or its funders. Funders do not determine research findings or the insights and recommendations of Urban experts.

RESEARCH TEAM Elaine Waxman, Kassandra Martinchek, Catherine Kuhns, Poonam Gupta, Olivia Fiol, Sofia Hinojosa, Emma Fernandez, and Julio Salas

Related Content