Minnesota Healthy Eating & Active Living

Our legal and policy experts helped Minnesota communities and public health professionals analyze, develop and adopt legal and policy measures that promote healthy eating and physical activity.  We have worked on a wide range of policies in areas from school wellness to shared use of school property, Safe Routes to School, Complete Streets, worksite wellness, community resolutions, and community and school gardens.

A large focus of our work is to support the Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP), a cornerstone of Minnesota’s Vision for a Better State of Health. SHIP focuses on policy, systems and environmental changes designed to curb Minnesota’s obesity and tobacco crisis. Under this program, the Public Health Law Center has worked with Minnesota counties, tribal governments and community coalitions to help them develop policies that focus on healthy eating, physical activity and reduction of tobacco use in community, school, workplace and health care settings.


Featured resource collections are below. Other relevant resources in right sidebar (desktop/tablet), or end of page (mobile).


Healthy Eating Policy Options for Minnesota Local Governments (2017)

For many people, eating healthier is not as simple as choosing to eat healthier foods. People need better access to healthy, affordable food. This resource describes a variety of policy options available to local governments to increase healthy eating and the availability of healthy food. It also provides specific examples showing how these policies have been used in Minnesota and other places, and connects policy options with stages of the food system.

Man on bike

Promoting an Active Minnesota: Local Policy Options to Support Walking and Bicycling (2017)

Local policy initiatives play a pivotal role in ensuring that communities have a viable transportation and recreation system that supports walking and bicycling. This resource describes a variety of policy options available to local governments to facilitate active transportation. It also provides specific examples showing these policies at work in Minnesota.

Planting seedlings

Community Gardening: Policy Reference Guide (2017); Webinar

Community gardening can have a tremendous positive impact on food access, community vitality, local economies, and environmental conditions in local communities. This guide provides a road map for how local laws and policies can impact local gardening efforts, recognizing that each community will need to assess how the specific local and legal context of their community impacts specific gardening efforts.

Washing vegetables

Preventing Foodborne Illness in Minnesota

Access to healthy food can be complicated by safety concerns surrounding how food is grown, handled, and prepared. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and other nutritious foods are vulnerable to contamination that cause foodborne illness. Food producers, those selling and serving food, public health officials, and community members need support to increase consumption of safe and healthy food.

Healthy Eating

Minnesota Afterschool and Out-of-School Time Toolkit for Healthy Eating and Physical Activity

Incorporating healthy food and active play into community- and school-based out-of-school time (OST) programs is important in preventing childhood obesity and modeling lifelong healthy behaviors. This set of resources to inform and support Minnesota policy efforts to advance these goals.

Healthy Eating in Child Care

Minnesota Child Care Resources

Child care providers are in a unique position to address the childhood obesity epidemic and tobacco-related health hazards. The Public Health Law Center has developed a series of resources to cultivate Minnesota child care settings that promote healthy eating, positive exercise habits, reduced screen time, and tobacco-free environments.

Gardening in Minneapolis

Minneapolis Food System

Minneapolis uses local policies to support healthy food by ensuring opportunities to produce healthy food in all areas of the community, and to dispose of food system waste in a way that is environmentally and economically friendly. These resources outline the Minneapolis regulations and legal framework impacting the local food system to inform the community and increase involvement making healthy food more accessible.

Healthy Eating

Webinar Series: Working with Minnesota Local Governments to Increase Access to Healthy Foods

A series of monthly webinars conducted in 2016 that seek to illuminate the many ways in which local governments can impact and facilitate access to healthy foods in their communities.

Dakota County, Minn.

Food System Policy Scan: Dakota County, Minn.

Minnesota’s cities and counties govern activities within their municipal boundaries through a wide range of local ordinances and policies, which can have a tremendous impact on how and where local residents are able to access healthy food. The Public Health Law Center completed a food system policy scan and an analysis of the local ordinances impacting healthy food access in Dakota County.

Minnesota Recreational Use

Minnesota Recreational Use

This set of resources identifies liability issues, risk management strategies and available resources for Minnesota schools allowing community recreational use of school property.

Active Transportation in Minnesota

Active Transportation in Minnesota: Pedestrian, Bicycle, and Non-Motorized Transportation

The Public Health Law Center developed a series of resources dedicated to pedestrian, bicycle, and non-motorized transportation to raise public awareness of laws and programs that support these healthy forms of transportation.

Health in Minnesota Schools

Promoting Health in Minnesota Schools: School Wellness Policies

Strong school wellness policies can help schools achieve their health and wellness goals. The Public Health Law Center developed a series of sample school wellness policies to fit in the Minnesota School Boards Association’s model school wellness policy.

Older resources can be found in our Minnesota Healthy Eating and Active Living resource archive.