Access to Healthy Affordable Food

Diets high in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins can help us maintain a healthy weight and avoid chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. But for many people, eating a healthier diet is not as simple as choosing to eat healthier foods. Some neighborhoods do not have grocery stores that sell healthy foods and sometimes healthy foods are too expensive for people to buy. To eat healthier diets, people need better access to healthy, affordable food.

For many jurisdictions, public policies are an effective way to increase access to healthy, affordable food. Cities and towns can change zoning and tax laws to make it easier to create new grocery stores, farmers' markets, and community gardens. New regulations and incentives can help existing stores increase the number and variety of healthy products they sell. Local governments can also create food policy councils to give residents a voice in how best to improve access to healthy food.


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

Illustration of a Native farmer

Organizational Food Systems within American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) Serving Organizations (2019)

Many Tribal and Indigenous-serving organizations include food systems components as part of their services and activities to support the health and wellness of their clients and the community. This resource provides a visualization about what these components can look like and how they can work together.

Man in grocery store

Hunger Relief in Local Planning (2018)

Local planning efforts can have a significant impact on the ability of residents facing hunger and food insecurity to access affordable, healthy food. Local planning efforts can also affect food access by addressing connections between land use, natural resources, transportation, housing, solid waste, parks and open space, economic development, and other areas of physical development in a community.

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.