Working with Minnesota Local Governments to Increase Access to Healthy Food - The Basics: Minnesota Local Government Structure (2016)

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Monday, April 18, 2016

This webinar has occurred in the past.
Download: Webinar Slides (PDF)  View: Webinar Recording

This webinar provides an overview of Minnesota city and county government structure and authority. The discussion focuses on opportunities for local food coalitions and networks in Minnesota to work with local governments while also providing concrete examples of actions city and county governments can take to increase access to healthy food in local Minnesota communities.

City and county governments, including both elected officials and staff, make decisions that impact a wide range of activities within their municipal borders that can determine where, how, and who has access to healthy food. The location of farmers’ markets, grocery stores, community gardens, and restaurants are directly impacted by land use and zoning decisions at the local level. Likewise, local governments make decisions about the allocation of resources impacting transportation and transit systems that affect the ability of residents to get to food outlets. Land use and development decisions at the local level can also determine what land is preserved for agricultural production.

Minnesota’s cities and counties govern these activities through a wide range of local ordinances and policies through authority granted to them by the Minnesota Constitution and state law. Understanding the authority and structure of city and county governments to impact key areas of the food system and access to healthy food is essential for food coalitions and networks seeking to work with local governments to address community needs. 


  • Dr. Beth A. Wielde Heidelberg, Professor of Urban Studies at Minnesota State University, Mankato.
  • Julie Ring, Executive Director of the Association of Minnesota Counties.


  • Mary Marrow, staff attorney with the Public Health Law Center