Physical Activity & Nutrition and 4 more...less...

Vermont Department of Health - Physical Activity & Nutrition


Chronic Disease Prevention

Chronic Disease Prevention

# of municipal strategies completed to increase access to healthy food.

133HY2 2019

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Story Behind the Curve

Last Update: November 2020

Author: Physical Activity and Nutrition Program, Vermont Department of Health


This performance measure documents the number of municipal projects completed (bi-annual count) that improve access to healthy food. This data is reported by Vermont Department of Health Office of Local Health staff who support leaders in their communities to implement evidence based strategies toward this goal. Examples of projects completed:

  • Brochure describing benefit programs, agencies, and location where people in the Northeast Kingdom can access food was created and widely distributed.
  • New community garden beds installed in Rutland (at a Head Start location), Middlebury (serving WIC clients), and Newport (through housing authority)
  • Mobile Van (the Lunchbox) served 1,643 children’s meals in Barton, Newport and Island Pond, a 23% increase from the previous year
  • A neighborhood market provided local produce to low income families in Brattleboro
What Works

According to the CDC's Recommended Community Strategies to Prevent Obesity, environmental changes to improve access to healthy food are evidence based strategies for reducing rates of overweight and obesity. These strategies are among the most sustainable ways to make long term, population based impacts.

Action Plan

The Vermont Department of Health has identified specific strategies for Vermont communities to implement to increase access to healthy food, and provides funding and technical assistance, such as training and sharing best practice, to help support community efforts.

These strategies are to establish:

  • A local or regional food policy council,
  • Procedures and practices to require healthy food be offered at all municipal venues and events,
  • Community farmers markets in underserved areas; ensure the market is accessible to low-SES residents and accepts Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards. These cards are similar to a credit card – where monthly food assistance benefit amounts are added each month. Each time the card is used, account balances decrease accordingly. They can be used to buy food at USDA authorized stores and farmers markets.
  • Community garden(s) accessible to low-SES residents,
  • Local Farm to Plate efforts, particularly regarding produce.

The Vermont Department of Health will continue to support these efforts by providing leadership and expertise on how communities can embed these strategies into all of their planning and development projects and by continuing to identify and share models that work in rural communities.

Vermont Department of Health Office of Local Health staff will work with their community partners throughout the year to move their strategies toward completion, see “Performance Measure: Number of municipal strategies being implemented to increase access to healthy food".

Scorecard Result Container Indicator Measure Action Actual Value Target Value Tag S R I P PM A m/d/yy m/d/yyyy